Zynga CEO and co-founder Mark Pincus has stepped down from the post as the online social gaming company continues through some turbulent times.
Replacing Mr Pincus will be 49-year-old tech gaming guru Don Mattrick, who previously served in a variety of leadership positions at Electronic Arts until leaving the company in February 2007. He most recently worked at Microsoft, where he oversaw the company’s Xbox 360 and PC gaming businesses, during which the Xbox 360 installed base grew from 10 million to over 76 million globally.
Mr Pincus said that he was highly hopeful the former President of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft would benefit Zynga in a major way. “I’ve always said (to the Zynga board) that if I could find someone who could do a better job as our CEO I’d do all I could to recruit and bring that person in,” he said. “I’m confident that Don is that leader.”
Mr Mattrick expressed his pleasure at being chosen to take over the reins as Zynga CEO, saying that the business will go from strength to strength despite the rough patch the company is currently going through.
“Zynga is a great business that has yet to realize its full potential,” Mr Mattrick said. “I joined Zynga because I believe that Mark’s pioneering vision and mission to connect the world through games is just getting started.”
The company announced just last month that it would be cutting just below 20 per cent of its staff as part of a restructuring move. Other cost cutting measures have been the closure of at least eleven games by the company at the start of the year along with the removal of a number of its other games from app stores.
Zynga Poker is one of the games offered by the company, and it has the distinction of being the first social game offered by it. Zynga also boasts that its poker game is the biggest free to play online poker service on the planet, the fourth most popular game on Facebook, as well as a top-10 grossing game in the Apple App Store.
While Zynga Poker is likely to be an integral part of the company, it will not be surprising if it is not a huge focus with Mr Mattrick at the helm. While he is a spectacular figure on gaming in the context of software and technology, he has had minimal exposure to the online gaming industry to date.
That will likely lead to Zynga Poker remaining a social free to play game in the short, medium and possibly long term future.