Who called it? We called it. I've been asking for Don Mattrick's head longer than Microsoft's investors have been asking for Ballmer's and it looks like now, three weeks after he took the stage in Los Angeles, he's departing for distant seas. But who is this Mattrick? We've talked about him before, but let's see if we can't nail down his contributions to gaming down, for better or worse.
1. Need For Speed
Mattrick co-founded Distinctive Software, Inc. as a 17-year old in 1982 and its reputation with racing games grew over the eighties. His company was acquired in 1991 by Electronic Arts, becoming EA Canada and producing the very first Road & Track Presents: The Need For Speed. That series, of course, has become EA's crown racer, at one point spawning more than one branded game a year, for worse and not any better at all.
2. EA Sports
Electronic Arts had been making sports games in a few major franchises for years by the time of DSI's acquisition, but it wasn't until Mattrick got involved that the label exploded. Their NHLseries began in 1991, FIFA and NCAA Football in 1993, NBA in 1995, Knockout Kings in 1998, then their "extreme sports" games under their BIG sub-sub-label in the early aughts, the majority of which were built at Mattrick's EA Canada studios.
3. EA's Licensed Games
Already a popular series of children's books, Mattrick was instrumental in bringing Harry Potter to the EA fold under their elaborate portfolio of licensed games. After Mattrick's departure, new CEO John Riccitello would suppress their reliance on licensing IPs from other media to build gaming franchises on.