Zynga’s founder and CEO Mark Pincus is stepping down as head of the now #2 online social media company. Taking his place is former head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, Don Mattrick.
In a letter released by Pincus to employees at Zynga on Monday, he stated that he had always that 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. I’m confident that Don is that leader.”
During his tenure at Microsoft as head of interactive entertainment, Mattrick was instrumental in the development of the Xbox 360, as well as Xbox Live, Kinect, and Xbox One as well as other mobile and PC gaming products. He also had major roles in developing several gaming franchises that included “Harry Potter”, “The Sims”, and the popular “FIFA” series of soccer games.
The change in leadership is not a complete surprise following declining profits and user bases on many of Zynga’s popular games. The company announced last month that they would be reducing their workforce by 18 percent in order to cut back on costs. In addition, the company has slid behind Caesars Interactive Entertainment in terms of market share and is now the #2 social media gaming company.
Pincus is not leaving the company entirely and will remain as the company’s Chairman and chief product officer. With Mattrick at the helm, one can hope that the company will begin to shift focus on creating new and exciting games and content to gain back some of their lost users rather than create variations of already existing games that are clearly beginning to lose their appeal to some players.