Former Sony exec Phil Harrison takes over Microsoft's European Game Studios

Former Sony Worldwide Studios head Phil Harrison will take the reigns of Microsoft's European Game Studios.

Former Sony Worldwide Studios head Phil Harrison will serve as the new head of Microsoft's European Game Studios, according to a report from GamesIndustry International. We have confirmed the report with our own source familiar with the situation. A similar leadership role with the company was recently vacated by Peter Molyneux, who left his role as Creative Director at Microsoft's European Game Studios to join the indie start-up venture 22 Cans.

Harrison served as executive vice president for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe before leaving to work at Infogrames in 2008, Atari in 2009, and at David Perry's cloud gaming company Gaikai in 2010, where Harrison served on the advisory board. Even casual followers of the games industry will probably recognize Harrison, who represented many of Sony's fledgling European studios at the company's E3 and GDC keynotes when the PlayStation 3 first launched.

Update: Microsoft has released an official statement confirming Harrison's new job with the company. Harrison's official position is part of the "Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) leadership team as corporate vice president with an emphasis on growing the division's European business." He must have enormous business cards.

Harrison will be tasked with building partnerships and "bringing culturally relevant entertainment experiences to Microsoft platforms," while growing and overseeing European developers like Lionhead and Rare. He will also continue to serve as special advisor to London Venture Partners, LLP, a venture capital firm which he co-founded.

Update 2: An Edelman spokesperson wrote to us, stating Harrison's new role is "completely unrelated to Peter's departure." Microsoft will "determine if and when the Microsoft Studios Europe Creative Director vacancy should be filled." Furthermore, the spokesperson explained that Molyneux's position as Lionhead manager is currently filled by chief operating officer Mark Webley.

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