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Trip Hawkins steps down as Digital Chocolate CEO

By Steve Peterson

Trip Hawkins steps down as Digital Chocolate CEO

Mon 28 May 2012 5:16am GMT / 1:16am EDT / 10:16pm PDT

Rumors of layoffs and office closures

Long-time industry leader Trip Hawkins announced on his company blog that he is stepping down from his role as CEO of Digital Chocolate. "I am transitioning now into a consulting and advisory relationship with Digital Chocolate. For its next stage of growth, Digital Chocolate is narrowing its focus and it made sense to get more streamlined."

This news coincides with a report that Digital Chocolate is laying off some 180 employees across their offices worldwide, include their headquarters in San Mateo, California. The report from TechCrunch also noted that Digital Chocolate president Mark Metis has been named interim CEO. According to the report, half of the employees in the San Mateo and Bangalore offices are being laid off, and offices in Mexicali, Armenia, and Sandlot offices in Bothell, Washington and St. Petersburg are being closed. (Sandlot was purchased by Digital Chocolate in 2011.)

Digital Chocolate has been in business for 8 years, with over $60 million in venture capital funding from Kleiner Perkins and Intel, among other investors. The company has produced titles on Facebook, iOS, Android, and the web, among other platforms. According to AppData Digital Chocolate currently has over 6 million MAU (monthly active users), down from 8 million MAU a month ago. This is down from a high point of 29.8 million MAU in December of 2010, due mainly to the success of Millionaire City, which had 12.9 million MAU at the time.

Trip Hawkins is the founder of Electronic Arts and 3DO, and Monday May 28th is the 30th anniversary of the day he formally incorporated and founded Electronic Arts. Hawkins also worked at Apple from 1978 on, when the company had only 25 employees; when he left Apple had grown to 4,000 employees. He spent 12 years at EA as CEO and Chairman of the Board, then spent 12 years at 3DO, and now 8 years at Digital Chocolate.

Hawkins plans to continue working in and around the game industry: "I will remain involved in digital media and games and be available for opportunities including mentoring, consulting, teaching, speaking and writing," Hawkins wrote on his blog. His personal website is at

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Keldon Alleyne Handheld Developer, Avasopht Ltd

621 714 1.1
Change that link from <a href=""> to <a href="">.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Keldon Alleyne on 28th May 2012 11:55am

Posted:4 years ago


Bruce Everiss Marketing Consultant

1,692 595 0.4
Wonder what is the real story behind this.

Posted:4 years ago


robert troughton Managing Director, Coconut Lizard

232 138 0.6
@Keldon: or <a href=""> :-) .. (no G in Hawkins)

Posted:4 years ago

Maybe its a case of "Veni, vidi, vici"
and time to go for a Trip within the games community

Posted:4 years ago


Raf Keustermans CEO, co-founder Plumbee

28 2 0.1
Sad story. Plumbee is hiring in London, we would be very happy to hear from affected Digital Chocolate engineers, artists, product managers, ... for more info.

Posted:4 years ago

"Long-time industry leader Trip Hawkins announced on his company blog that he is stepping down"... "He spent 12 years at EA as CEO and Chairman of the Board, then spent 12 years at 3DO, and now 8 years at Digital Chocolate."

Can I confirm that 3DO was also another failure to launch system?

Posted:4 years ago

@Bruce - is it just me or is it we never get the feature from the trade media on what led to the closure of any of the big hype start-ups?

Seems that we only get a hype profile of business, with a white wash on the results - building a cult of personality of these 'veteran' executives?

Posted:4 years ago


John Owens CEO, Wee Man Studios Ltd

1,036 1,355 1.3
I wonder if this has anything to do with the Facebook IPO. Maybe it wasn't just retail investors it spooked.

Posted:4 years ago

@John, good point, but from the Develop comments sounds like this was brewing before then - now the question is how much of a hole they have been left in!

Posted:4 years ago

Oh great, we have a long discussion on the cult of personality, and the danger of sycophancy from certain trade media and then we get a full feature on GI.Biz about "Industry Legend: Trip"!!!

It is sad that the editorial team can be twisted round the 'legends' fingers, and do some serious revisionism of their business history with no one on the news team questioning the answers! Oh well if the trade wont learn it will have to face the consequences!

Posted:4 years ago


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