Microsoft stressed that Phil’s hiring “is completely unrelated to Peter Molyneux’s departure.The company stated that they will continue to rely on their stable of first party developers as they determine if and when the Microsoft Studios Europe Creative Director vacancy should be filled. Peter’s previous role as Lionhead Studio Manager is being filled by Lionhead COO Mark Webley. The official word is that Harrison has been appointed corporate vice president at the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB), tasked with growing the division’s European business. He will lead the Microsoft Studios European organization directly and will “influence the broader performance of IEB’s European business through strategic partnerships and by bringing culturally relevant entertainment experiences to Microsoft platforms, now and in the future.” The role includes overseeing UK-based developers Lionhead Studios, Soho Productions and Rare Ltd. Harrison who co-founded London Venture Partners. Harrison will continue as Special Advisor for the investment firm as he switches his focus to Microsoft.
“I am excited to be joining the senior team at Microsoft at a pivotal time for our industry,” said Harrison. “I am really impressed with the company’s long-term vision for growing the market for interactive entertainment globally and also with the incredible wealth of talent, technology and resources the company has available to succeed.”
“We are honored to have Phil join a team that boasts a wealth of talent from across the industry,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president at Microsoft Studios. “Harrison is one of video gaming’s true visionaries, and his experience overseeing global studios and deep industry relationships make him the ideal person to lead our European efforts. Under his leadership, we look forward to continuing cultivating the best talent and growing our business in the region.”
“Harrison has played an instrumental role in shaping modern console history through his keen insights into both hardware and software strategy,” said Don Mattrick, president, Interactive Entertainment Business. “His addition to our leadership team will impact our global business in innumerable ways, as he aligns our studio development and growing portfolio of entertainment experiences in Europe to drive our continued growth worldwide.”
GamesIndustry International understands that Phil Harrison, previously of Sony, Atari and London Venture Partners is joining Microsoft as head of Microsoft Game Studios Europe. Many sources have confirmed the appointment to GamesIndustry International separately and Microsoft is expected to confirm it publicly later today. Harrison is expected to take direct overall responsibility for all Microsoft-owned UK studios, with a broader remit in Europe as a whole. Harrison is also thought to be retaining an advisory role at current company London Venture Partners. Two years ago, Harrison co-founded that company, specialising in games industry investment along with David Gardner and David Lau-Kee. Earlier on, he was a board member of Atari, as part of the team that was recruited in an attempt to rejuvenate the flagging publisher.
Harrison is most famous for his time at Sony where he was ebullient on-stage conference performances. Also, his confident brand evangelism earned him a great deal of industry kudos and respect. GamesIndustry International looks forward to him reprising his role for Microsoft at future shows, perhaps as early as E3 2012.
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