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Former PlayStation and Xbox exec Phil Harrison goes to Google

High profile executive hire suggests big gaming plans

Phil Harrison

Game industry stalwart Phil Harrison announced today that he is joining Google as a vice president and general manager, working from the company’s headquarters in California.

Harrison’s resume includes 15 years as head of Sony’s network of game studios, as well as three years as a senior member of Microsoft’s Xbox team. In recent years, he’s served as an adviser and board member to various companies, including Gaikai and Atari.

“Excited to be able to share that today I’ve started a new role as Vice President and GM of Google - and relocating (back) to California,” Harrison tweeted today. He was based in California in the late ‘90s, during his stint with Sony.

There’s been no official announcement of his joining from Google’s publicity department, suggesting a high level of secrecy about Harrison’s role at the company. But it’s likely to be a meaty, games-related project. Harrison’s field of experience is coordinating game studios and strategies for gaming platforms.

Google’s interest in games includes its mobile platform Android, as well as browser games played through its search page. The company hosted a Google Developer Day at GDC last year. It also launched an Android-based VR platform, Daydream, in 2016. And the company has been investing in augmented reality platform ARCore.

In an interview with Eurogamer last year, Harrison spoke about his enthusiasm for augmented reality. “It’s likely — and this is unproven, nobody knows for sure — there will be a mass-market reluctance to wear a completely immersive device,” Harrison said. “Some people just won’t like the idea of blocking out the outside world, whereas I believe more of the world is going to be interested in a mixed reality: an augmented reality where you can still see, you can still hear, you can still interact with real people but it’s augmented with additional data. That is the end goal.”

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