Don Mattrick, the former president of Interactive Entertainment at Microsoft, is now the former CEO of mobile and casual gaming company Zynga. Mattrick is probably best known for being a key leader in the disastrous launch of the Xbox One. Once hailed as one of the smartest people in tech, all of Mattrick’s latest exploits have crashed and burned. Zynga, best known for games like Farmville and Words with Friends, has seen their stock price crater in the past few months, and are now handing off a golden parachute to the man responsible for the company’s woes.
While heading up the Xbox One launch, Mattrick made some pretty dumb comments about gamers. When the Xbox One was criticized for it’s “always on” feature—drawing comparisons to the telescreens from Orwell’s 1984— Mattrick’s dismissive response was this:
We have a product for people who aren’t able to get some form of connectivity; it’s called Xbox 360.
If that wasn’t enough, he compared not having Internet—or not wanting Internet access for your consoles— to living on a nuclear sub. Basically, like so many corporate hacks today, Mattrick thought that insulting his product’s user base was a good idea. After Microsoft wisely went back on many of Mattrick’s more crackpot ideas, he decided to exit stage left and wreak havoc elsewhere.
Mattrick’s Reign Of Destruction
Not content with helping drive one company into the ground, Don Mattrick joined Zynga in 2013. It was a big deal at the time: the former head of a console company coming to help browser and mobile gaming. Zynga’s stock price shot up when the news was announced, but the honeymoon was over quickly. According to several sources, things were not going so well internally with Zynga. After posting a $226 million loss, Mattrick called it a “year of progress,” apparently still delusional about how math works. He was then asked to step down and left the company on “amicable” terms.
While Zynga’s founder Mark Pincus is replacing Mattrick as CEO, Mattrick has pulled off yet another hat trick as he rides off into the sunset. While Pincus may be able to turn Zynga around, Mattrick will still receive a handsome severance package despite nearly destroying the company. According to reports, Mattrick will receive $4 million over the next 24 months, as well as a $1 million annual bonus. On top of that, Zynga will shell out Mattrick’s 5.1 million shares valued at the after-hours price of $2.60 each, allowing him to pocket another $13 million.
For those of you keeping count, that means despite tanking the company and leaving it in near ruin, Don Mattrick will still make $18 million!
I wish I could say that I was happy about Mattrick’s firing, but he’s likely to just move on to another gaming company and ravage that one as well, like a cloud of locuts. At least with Zynga, it was a gaming company that focused on the casual market, but can you imagine what might happen if he ends up at Sony, Nintendo, or Microsoft again? Thanks, but no thanks.
The gaming industry needs to leave Don Mattrick and his ilk in the wilderness once and for all. With an extra $18 million in the bank, it’s not like he’s going to end up on the street. No, the suits never suffer; only the people who buy their products do.