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Phil Harrison launches gaming-related startup with secret Microsoft technology

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Phil Harrison just left Microsoft and is now starting his own games-related firm, Alloy Platform Industries, and his new company is tied to his old gig in a way, he said in an interview with GamesIndustry International.

Alloy Platform Industries — a "deliberately meaningless" name, according to Harrison — is a gaming-adjacent startup.

"We're definitely in the same neighborhood, probably on the same street, but probably not the next door house, if that makes any sense," Harrison told GamesIndustry International. "But clearly related. You know, the things that interest me and stimulate me are how technology and entertainment and people intersect. Think of those as three circles with a Venn diagram with an intersection in the middle."

Harrison said he has been planning this new venture "in full consultation and collaboration with Microsoft, specifically with [Head of Xbox] Phil Spencer," for more than a year. Harrison, who has spent nearly 30 years in the game industry, served as corporate vice president of Xbox in Europe from March 2012 until last week. Spencer said in a statement confirming Harrison's departure that Harrison is "a great friend of mine," and wished him well in the future.

Alloy Platform Industries has "licensed some technology from Microsoft which will form the basis of our initial investigations and explorations," said Harrison. "It's unannounced technology that nobody outside of Microsoft knows about."

As for the fields that Alloy Platform Industries might explore, Harrison spoke vaguely about the rapid nature of change in technology today, including "the ubiquity of mobile devices," cloud-based "ambient computing intelligence" and "low-power, low-cost hardware."

Asked about the timing of his departure from Microsoft — news of which broke on the same day that the company folded Lift London into fellow London-based studio Soho Productions — Harrison said the two events were "completely unrelated," and that he decided to combine the studios last year.

Check out GamesIndustry International's full interview with Harrison for more.

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