Meet Don Mattrick, The Man Who Lives Like A Saudi Prince

Meet Don Mattrick, The Man Who Lives Like A Saudi Prince

In the wake of Don Mattrick’s surprise move from Microsoft to Zynga, Fast Company has a great profile piece about the man, his successes and his ridiculously extravagant lifestyle.

It’s a great read, opening up with an account of his storied history in game development, beginning with the game he developed as a teenager, through to his time at EA and Microsoft.

It also goes into detail about his lifestyle, claiming that he lives like a “saudi prince”.

Mattrick is married to a Canadian Telecom heiress and earned $21 million from EA stock options alone. His home, the largest in British Columbia, is worth an estimated $28 million. Among its amenities is a 10-car garage, which Mattrick, who bought his first Ferrari before he turned 20 with some of the proceeds from his first game sale, has filled. When I ask him exactly how many cars he owns, he just smiles. “A dozen?” I ask. “Ish,” he replies, acknowledging his taste for not only Ferraris but also Lamborghinis and Lotuses. Mattrick only reinforces this reputation of being “not present enough,” in the words of one former Microsoft executive, by preferring to work at home in Vancouver, where Microsoft has a gaming studio. He commutes to Redmond, when he has to be there, in a private jet.

For years gamers saw Don Mattrick was this unassailably smooth presenter, and as someone who had done a great job of pushing the Xbox brand into a great spot: it was something that gamers responded to, but also had mainstream appeal. The cracks did appear to be showing, however, at E3 where it seemed as though Mattrick couldn’t get through a single interview without dropping clangers. According to Fast Company Zynga shares are up 11% since the Don Mattrick announcement. It’ll be interesting to see where he takes the company from here.

Meet Former Xbox Boss Don Mattrick, Who Just Left Microsoft To Turn Around Zynga [Fast Company]


  • tbh I didn’t know who he was until this whole Xbox one thing happened. It seems to me that the games industry is getting more and more celebrity-ish with its big name personalities. Is that just because we have the Internet now so it’s easy to get information overload? Back in previous generations I could only name, like, Shiggy.

    • There have always been big-name game designers around, even pre-internet. Obviously Miyamoto is one, but also people like Sid Meier (Civilization, etc), Roberta Williams (King’s Quest), and Richard Garriot (Ultima) spring to mind. I guess there are probably more these days, which is a combination of the internet making them more visible and also just the gaming business being much bigger.

      I think we do probably see/hear more from the execs these days than we used to. Whether that’s a good thing or not is open to debate 😛

    • Back in the day, the two Johns (Romero & Carmack) were pretty much the rock stars of game design, arriving at id in Ferraris and the like.

  • I thought all these Execs were doing it hard? I thought that was why all this DRM and “no 2nd hand games” policys were trying to be enforced?

  • I swear it’s like he was given the console 5 minutes before the presentation with a couple of dot points.

    • What?!? I really don’t understand how you guys(obviously xbox fans) somehow think mattick was the problem with microsoft’s e3…

  • I had a copy of Stunts for the PC (early 1990s) and I had no idea that it was one of Don Mattrick’s / Distinctive Software’s titles.

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