So Long, Don Don!: A Microsoft Memoir

It was reported by THE WHOLE WORLD TODAY that Don Mattrick, the Prez o’ Interactive Entertainment for Microsoft, has let the big shiny door hit him where the Good Lord split him. Instead of slinging games for the XO-Box, he’s slinging games for Zynga as CEO! Ya know, the ones who made the annoying ass games your friends won’t stop inviting you to on Facebook. Mattrick states:

“I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started. Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential.”


I KNOW, Don! I made a cry face, too! Oh wait, no, I made an angry “I hope an 800-lb tuna with his 20 or 30 friends eats you” face.

To give you some background on this man, immerse yourself in this Wikipedia snippet:

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Following his retirement from Electronic Arts in February 2007, Mattrick was asked by Robbie Bach to serve as an external advisor to the Entertainment and Devices Division. In July 2007, Mattrick then officially joined Microsoft as a Senior Vice President overseeing the Xbox 360 and PC gaming businesses. In the six years since Mattrick has overseen the division, the Xbox 360 installed base has grown from 10 million to more than 76 million worldwide, while the Xbox LIVE membership has increased from 6 million to over 48 million. At the same time Mattrick is recognized for moving the interactive business from an operating loss into a sustained and profitable business for the company.

Mattrick is also largely credited for his work in bringing Kinect for Xbox 360 to life. Mattrick unveiled Kinect under the code-name of “Project Natal” at E3 2009 on stage with Steven Spielberg. Kinect which is a “controller-free gaming and entertainment experience” for Xbox 360 launched in November 2010 worldwide and sold over 8 million units in the first 60 days, making it the fastest-selling consumer electronic device, according to Guinness World Records. By early March 2011, the device reached 10 million in device sales. The product has been seen as highly innovative and has won numerous awards including being named one of the top inventions of the year from Time Magazine.

In October 2010, Mattrick was promoted to President of the Interactive Entertainment Business, a role that had him reporting directly to the CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer. In this role he was responsible for a collection of consumer businesses including Xbox 360, Xbox LIVE, Kinect, Music, and Video, as well as PC and mobile interactive entertainment.

Fortune Magazine in August 2011 named Don Mattrick one of the “Smartest People in Tech 2011” largely highlighting his ability to turn around the Xbox business and drive new consumer innovations like Kinect. In May 2012, Don Mattrick was named one of CNN Money’s top 10 brilliant technology visionaries.

On May 21, 2013, Mattrick unveiled the new Xbox One, the successor to the Xbox 360, an all-in-one entertainment system.

On June 19, 2013, Mattrick wrote an update on Xbox Wire to address feedback on Xbox One digital content and connectivity. This included the addition of two features to the console many consumers had asked for including “An internet connection will not be required to play offline Xbox One games” and “Trade-in, lend, resell, gift, and rent disc based games just like you do today”. These additions came at the expense of most of the features that had been heavily promoted as unique and innovative by Microsoft, including Family Game Sharing, Digital loaning and sale of games, and disk-less game play.

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Now, I know everyone in the world is thinking what I’m thinking: Ooh, those big smartass words don’t taste so good now, HUH Don?! But, from the statements given by both sides, this has been in the works for months, and this was (I guess?) a good time for him to go. It *almost* seems like a “hey, that guy who said dickish things? Yeah he’s gone!” move to me. And by *almost*, I mean DUH. No one’s going to care about flowery words- everyone, no matter what, is going to think they triumphed by making him change his stance on Xbox One, and watching him high-tail it away. We will never know the truth, because that’s how journalism works! HURRAY!

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