By Matt Hawkins
Don Mattrick's abrupt departure from MS to Zynga last week was a shocker to many. As well as a bit of a relief to those who place the blame for the Xbox One's recent missteps squarely on the now former of President of the Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business’ shoulders.
More than anything else, the move from overseeing one the most popular gaming platforms of today, one that he helped to define, and which still has plenty of potential, to taking over the reigns of a company that helped to popularize social gaming, but whose stock is plummeting by the day, didn't make a bit of sense.
Though according to report published by Bloomberg, it would appear that Zynga has been on Mattrick's mind for quite some time. In fact, if things had gone according to plans, Microsoft would have gobbled up Zynga years ago.
According to sources close to Bloomberg, Mattrick negotiated with Zynga founder Mark Pincus back in 2010, with the idea of beefing up Microsoft's Xbox catalogue with social games. This was when FarmVille was indeed the hottest thing going, and when many analysts honestly believed that Zynga was paving the way of the future.
There's no word on why things fell apart, though it's worth noting that the console as a whole was far more connected to various social networks at that time as well. Back then, you had both dedicated Twitter and Facebook apps for the Xbox 360. Both of which has since disappeared in subsequent dashboard updates.
Though the information above still doesn’t explain why Mattrick is still fond of a company, which as noted, is struggling on virtually every front; Zynga’s Wall Street value is not what it once was, key talent keeps jumping ship, and perhaps most important of all, less and less people are playing their games.
Maybe, during the negotiation process, Don Mattrick simply saw something in Zynga that resonated and stuck with him?
Aside from the Xbox One debacles, Mattrick’s track record is rather impressive; he's largely credited as the man that made Xbox LIVE what it is now. Today marks the first day of Mattrick at his new job, as Zynga’s CEO. Time will only tell if he can make social gaming relevant again… if that's indeed what he has planned to being with.