Xbox boss leaves for Zynga

The head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, Don Mattrick, is leaving to join casual games firm Zynga – the creator of titles like Farmville and Words With Friends – as CEO and a member of the board. 

Mattrick’s departure comes after six years at Microsoft – the last three of which he spent as president of the firm’s Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), overseeing the team responsible for the Xbox console.

Commenting on the move, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer praised Mattrick’s success and said that in his absence the division would report to him and “continue to drive the day-to-day business as a team, particularly focused on shipping Xbox One this holiday.”

“Since joining IEB more than six years ago, Don and his team have accomplished much. Xbox Live members grew from 6 million to 48 million. Xbox 360 became the number one selling console in North America the past two years. We introduced Kinect and have sold more than 24 million sensors. We released fantastic games, and, most importantly, we expanded Xbox to go beyond great gaming to deliver all the entertainment people want — sports, music, movies, live television and much more,” said Ballmer.

Mattrick, who is due to take up his new role on July 8, will take over from Mark Pincus, Zynga’s founding chief executive officer, who remains chairman of the board of directors and chief product officer of the company.