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Don Mattrick Leaves Microsoft for Zynga

Don Mattrick Zynga

After a tumultuous few months dealing with the Xbox One and rabid gamers, Don Mattrick is moving on to a new venture at casual game maker Zynga.

The announcement caught most of the gaming world by surprise, even though it was reportedly in the works for some time. Beginning next week, Mattrick will step in as chief executive officer, and will also be a member of Zynga’s board of directors.

“Don is unique in the game business,” said Mark Pincus, Zynga’s Founder, Chairman and Chief Product Officer, “He’s one of the top executives in the overall entertainment business and he’s a great coach who has inspired people to do their best work and build strong, productive teams. He deeply understands the value of a network and the importance of creating lifelong consumer relationships.”

“I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started,” Mattrick said. “Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential. I’m proud to partner with Mark to deliver high-quality, fun, social games wherever people want to play.”

Prior to his time as head of interactive entertainment for Xbox, Mattrick was the president of EA’s worldwide studios. No immediate successor was named for Mattrick at Microsoft.

Obviously Mattrick believed the transition was a good one, but Zynga hasn’t exactly been the most successful company in recent years. Leaving Microsoft amidst the Xbox One growing pains for a company seemingly hemorrhaging at the seams may not turn out as well as Mattick hoped. At least he won’t have to worry about gaming on nuclear submarines anymore.

Next: 10 Biggest WTF Moments of E3 2013

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