Xbox manager Don Mattrick is stepping down to take a high level position at the troubled online game outfit Zynga.
According to USA Today, Mattrick is expected to replace company founder Mark Pincus as CEO. Pincus still owns most of the company so it is not clear how much control he will still have.
Matterick’s move is odd and this has lead to some speculation that he might have been planning to flee Redmond before the restructuring. While Matterick has done rather well at Redmond, he may not have liked the look of what Steve Ballmer was planning for him.
There have been some rumours that Mattrick is leaving because of the large amount of PR difficulties that have followed the Xbox One.
Vole had to do an about-face over a number of controversial policies for the forthcoming console, including a required online check-in every 24 hours.
That was not so obvious from Ballmer’s email to staff announcing Mattrick’s exit where he effectively credits Mattrick for Microsoft’s Xbox success and “setting us on a path to completely redefine the entertainment industry”.
He said the job was a “great opportunity for Don, and I wish him success”.
Ballmer did add that Mattrick’s workers will report to him, at least until the Xbox One ships.
Zynga has been closing offices and laying off more than 500 employees and things are not going well financially.
The company’s revenue dropped 18 percent last quarter and audience engagement metrics are down as well.