July 3, 2013
The Industry Shake Up
Since I have been busy and on a mini vacation if you will, there has been quite the industry rocker this past week. What started Monday as a rumor and now has been officially confirmed, Don Mattrick ( head of Xbox) has departed from Microsoft. This was a move that was not that hard to see coming; with the DRM and 24 hour check-in policies, lack of communication to the consumer, and lack of focus on the Xbox One, some one was going to be on the chopping block. Mattrick was not let go, nor stepped down do to this debacle. Don Mattrick has moved to be the CEO of Zynga, the Facebook game giant. One has to think though why this move seems logical. The Xbox One had a rocky start, it has an inflated price tag, and lack of equipment in the box; but why jump from a ship that needs a few patches, to one that is sinking faster than the Titanic? Zynga, the creator of such games as Farmville and Cityville, has been loosing executives left and right. Within 2012, Zynga saw their stock hit a trading high of $14.50 and then crumble the same year to a paltry $2.09. To see Mattrick leave the comfort of Microsoft to go to Zynga is a strange move. Bloomberg and Games Industry International are reporting that Microsoft Senior Vice President and head of the Windows division, Julie Larson-Green is to be taking over for the departed Mattrick. Don Mattrick was placed as head of the Xbox brand in 2007 after Robbie Bach exited. It will be interesting to see what changes will be made by launch in the fall, if any more will be implemented. One last note of switches in the industry, Senior Producer of Gears of War: Judgment, Chris Wynn, is leaving Epic Games in favor of Bioware. Wynn will be Senior Development Director for the next Mass Effect game. Epic continues to bleed employees as we saw Rod Ferguson, Cliff Bleszinski, and Mike Capps all depart last year.