Don Mattrick, who's been the public face for all things Xbox for the last few years, will be leaving Microsoft to take a top leadership role at Zynga, reports All Things D.
Most recently, Mattrick's been visible as the person who introduced the Xbox One, Microsoft's next-gen successor to the best-selling Xbox 360. But the Redmond tech giant's been dogged by wave after wave of negative sentiment as the initial details emerged about how the console would require a daily internet connection and handle used games. The backlash culminated in a shocking reversal where Microsoft removed these policies and features.
Mattrick joined Microsoft in 2007. Previously he'd been the head of worldwide studios at EA, where he'd worked in various roles for a quarter century. Mattrick was also a game designer, having co-created the racing series Test Drive when he was a teenager.
Under his tenure, the Xbox 360 battled for console supremacy with Nintendo's Wii and eventually emerged as a home entertainment hub where users could watch Netflix and dozens of other streaming video services in addition to playing games. The Mattrick era also saw the introduction of the ground-breaking Kinect sensor, which launched with record-setting numbers but then became the reason for some of the most broken and frustrating games on the 360.
The Xbox One has also come under fire for the declaration that indies wouldn't be able to self-publish on the platform. But, in his most recent remarks to Kotaku, Mattrick said that an independent creator program would be something implemented for the new hardware.
When contacted by Kotaku, Zynga declined to comment. Kotaku has reached out to Microsoft as well and will update this story should they respond.
Update: A Twitter conversation between AllThingsD's Kara Swisher and Geoff Keighley of GameTrailers indicates that Mattrick was approached by EA.
@geoffkeighley they pursued him for sure. zynga a better turnaround, I suspect
— Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) July 1, 2013
(photo courtesy of Invision, AP Images)