Several things have happened recently with Zynga. First, the company has undergone a massive restructuring, including several rounds of layoffs and full-on studio closures by the foresight of COO David Ko. Then, the once-reigning social gaming champion was dethroned by new gaming mogul, King. And just last week, Don Mattrick left Microsoft to take over as CEO of Zynga, in hopes to change things around for the better. Many wondered what and how Mattrick would return Zynga back to its glory and the good news is that, this week, the Don laid out his 90-day plan in a statement and in an interview.
Mattrick has really come to the company to take charge, and here's how he says he will do it:
So here's what I'm focused on in the next 90 days. (I want to get) under the hood to evaluate every aspect of our business; conduct top-to-bottom business reviews and work with our leaders to calibrate against the market opportunity and to go after it with a real sense of urgency.
Obviously a lot of that needs some clarification as to what exactly it means. Mattrick continued,
I'll spend time heads-down with our team and focus on improving our product quality; how we're deploying people at all levels of the company, and I'm also going to use the next 90 days to assess and reset our product pipeline. Zynga's still a young company, and we have the capability to break some bad habits and get back to some good fundamentals. And while my approach in the first few weeks is to listen and learn, when it becomes clear what change is necessary, I'll move quickly and decisively to do what's in the best long-term interests of our players, employees, and our shareholders.
In his 90-day plan, Mattrick also decided that Zynga will no longer be involved with online gambling here in the US. And, even though investors have spoken with their dollars, causing Zynga to fall 14 percent in the stock market, the former Microsoft exec remained true to his quick-and-decisive mantra. He added that online gambling would not allow Zynga games to be social and accessible to everyone, and with $1.5 billion in cash and investments, Mattrick said he will be using the funds to bring Zynga back up to the 6 million paying monthly users it had just over a year ago. Currently the company only has 2 million of that type of customer, certainly a sharp downturn in just four quarters. Active users are also down to 187 million, compared to the 306 million that Zynga had playing their games last year, and the 253 million that were playing just a quarter ago.
Can Mattrick be the one to save the company? Depending on how responsible he was for the Microsoft PR debacle, I'm not sure. As time progresses, more signs point to Ballmer being the man behind not allowing the public relations team to speak to the press and fans as to the reasoning behind the decisions of the new Xbox One, so perhaps Mattrick has simply waiting for an opportunity to take his own reigns and shine. If anyone can bring Zynga back from the brink of a potential disaster, it probably is going to be Don.