Category Archives: Zynga

Don Mattrick Moves to…Zynga (Also: why he failed)

There are nowhere near enough snarky things that could be said at this news.

So instead, post Xbone, I think I’ll just limit myself to wishing Microsoft’s Xbox unit all the best.

Edit: Actually, I’ll add a note of Serious Thought, especially since I did a bit of media coaching for a young Toronto-based activist just this past Friday.

(No. really.)

Mattrick’s problem wasn’t the Xbone’s various DRM problems. People in that GI comment thread pointed out that those decisions were almost certainly made before he got there. I think they’re right. That sort of thing takes ages to implement. He might well have been served up the proverbial shit sandwich.

Mattrick’s problem is that he screwed up in how he handled it. They should have had an ironclad, well-laid-out strategy on how to deal with the fallout from this. They should have had a crisis management and/or conflict management strategy ready to go immediately. They should have figured out how to defuse this LONG before E3, and definitely after the Orth debacle.

Hell, I could have done it for them. It’s not hard. I can think up some strategies right now:

  • Be open about what you’re doing and why.
  • Emphasize the convenience elements, how the games follow you from system to system, and how you can download forever, and how family members and other users of your Xbox can play the game without fuss or muss.
  • Give loads of tantalizing hints about that online trading and sales scheme you’d been working on.
  • Express your sympathies with people with unreliable Internet and your promise to do what you can to ameliorate the issue, including the promise of a robust “offline mode” along the lines of Steam’s. The 24-hour thing is dumb, make it once or twice a week.
  • Be absolutely one HUNDRED percent sympathetic with the troops, including looking into ways to accommodate them specially.
  • Demonstrate at least one game that uses the new Kinect’s abilities in ways that makes the extra hundred bucks seem like you’re paying for a premium good.

If you really wanted to demolish, you could demonstrate that the games will be cheaper by announcing that you’re making your own games cheaper. Not third party games, YOUR games. Microsoft games. Sell ’em for fifty bucks, or even forty five. It’s not like you’re Nintendo and dependent on first-party sales. Your money’s being made on license fees and Xbox Live anyway, and you’ll generate so much goodwill that it’ll blow that little Sony video out of the water.

(Can you tell that I’ve been thinking a lot about crisis management recently?)

That was Mattrick’s job. SELLING it was Mattrick’s job. Managing this crisis was Mattrick’s job. He didn’t just fail, he actively made it worse. He came across as an arrogant ass with all that “go buy a 360” stuff, and making that the center of the company’s messaging was inane beyond all recognition.

He failed. Badly. And now he’s moved on to another company in crisis, arguably a WORSE crisis. I just hope he does better this time. He could hardly have done worse.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Zynga’s Monkey is TERRIFYING


No, Zynga. No, I don’t think we will. We’ll be too busy hiding behind the sofa, thanks.

(Taken from VentureBeat.)

Tagged ,
%d bloggers like this: