Microsoft position too tempting for B.C. entrepreneur

Wednesday, July 18th, 2007

Job puts him in the vanguard of computer games

Jack Keating

The world’s largest software company came north of the U.S. border to find the man to run its booming interactive entertainment business.

“I’m euphoric about the new position,” said Don Mattrick, the Vancouver-born-and-raised computer wizard hired yesterday by Microsoft to be senior vice-president of the IEB division of the company.

Mattrick, who started his own video-game company at age 18, went on to become one of B.C.’s most successful businessmen.

He is a former president of Burnaby-based Electronic Arts Inc., a company named B.C.’s exporter of the year in 2004 under Mattrick’s leadership.

Mattrick, 43, is excited to be part of a company that is “a leader in sort of the next generation of video-game hardware.”

“Microsoft is a company that has more assets, more talent and more capabilities in the entertainment space than any other company on the planet,” said Mattrick, whose EA company generated sales of about $1 billion a year.

“So that’s what’s exciting for me is the chance to be part of that leadership team.”

Mattrick joined Electronic Arts in 1991 when the company purchased Distinctive Software Inc., the firm he founded 23 years ago.

While at EA, he worked on popular game franchises such as Need for Speed, Harry Potter and The Sims.

Although financially set for life, Mattrick decided to take on this new challenge because of his love for computer games.

“The best motivation is passion,” said Mattrick, who will work out of both Microsoft’s Redmond, Wash., headquarters and Vancouver.

“And for me I love the entertainment space. I love trading new types of products, new types of experiences.

“A chance to sort of run the leading video-game hardware platform in the world . . . it was just a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up.”

Mattrick had been working with the senior management team at Microsoft since February as an adviser over strategy and innovation for the entertainment group.

He replaces Peter Moore, who has moved back to the San Francisco area.

“While Peter will certainly be missed, we are delighted to have one of the industry’s most talented and passionate veterans on board to lead the business,” said Robbie Bach, president of Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft. “Don is well-known and respected throughout the industry for his deep knowledge, technical expertise and management savvy.”

© The Vancouver Province 2007

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