Harrison takes over MGS Europe, but not Molyneux’s job

Tuesday, 13th March 2012 13:56 GMT By Staff

Former PlayStation front-man Phil Harrison has joined Microsoft as head of its European Games Studios following the departure of Peter Molyneux, but Microsoft has insisted he hasn’t replaced the Lionhead legend.

All-change at MGS – timeline

March 7 – Peter Molyneux, creative director of Microsoft Studios Europe and founder of Lionhead 15 years ago, leaves his job to set up indie developer 22 Cans.

March 12 – Lionhead staffers assure Fable is in good hands after Molyneux’s departure.

March 13 – Ex-Sony president of Worldwide Studios Phil Harrison joins Microsoft’s “Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) leadership team as corporate vice president with an emphasis on growing the division’s European business.” Harrison worked at Sony for 15 years and eventually headed PlayStation’s development effort in its entirety. He quit Sony to move to Atari in February 2008.

Microsoft has confirmed that Phil Harrison, formerly Sony’s head of Worldwide Studios, “has joined the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) leadership team as corporate vice president with an emphasis on growing the division’s European business.”

The news comes after the departure of Lionhead Peter Molyneux as the creative director of Microsoft Studios Europe last week.

Microsoft has claimed the appointment is “completely unrelated to Peter’s departure.”

A spokesperson added: “Phil will lead Microsoft Studios European organization, but will also influence the broader performance of IEB’s European business. We will continue to rely on our stable of first party developers as we determine if and when the Microsoft Studios Europe creative director vacancy should be filled”

Harrison will lead the Microsoft Studios European organisation directly, and will “also 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.”

Microsoft pegged Harrison’s experience with mobile and social games as a plus,. He is now in charge of Lionhead Studios, Soho Productions and Rare.

“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.

“Phil 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.”

“Phil 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.

“Phil’s role on the IEB leadership team is completely unrelated to Peter’s departure. Phil will lead Microsoft Studios European organization, but will also influence the broader performance of IEB’s European 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.”

Full circle

Harrison will take over the position vacated by Peter Molyneux, who announced his departure for 22 Cans during GDC last week.

A partner at London Venture Partners for the last two years, Harrison was involved with games investment after tenures at both Atari and Sony.

Phil was a front-facing figure at Sony for many years, eventually rising to the position of president of Worldwide Studios.

He personally announced many PlayStation initiatives, such as Home and LittleBigPlanet, and was a familiar face in Sony press conferences. He was part of the notorious “599 US dollars” conference at E3 2006.

He sensationally quit Sony on February 25, 2008, after 15 years at the firm, saying his time with the company had been “the defining journey of my life so far.”

Harrison was quickly confirmed to be moving into a president position at Infogrames, where CEO David Gardner, and ex-EA Europe boss, claimed he would “build the future”.

SingStar boss Paulina Bozek followed Harrison from Sony to Atari in September 2008.

Harrison, Gardner and Bozek quit Atari together in April 2010.



  1. earlyrock

    Well I never!

    #1 3 years ago
  2. Johnny Cullen

    Fuck me dead. :O

    #2 3 years ago
  3. Razor

    Hoooooooly shit.

    Great coup, though.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. ManuOtaku

    Next thing you know will be kuratagi with nintendo, and the cycle will be complete
    p.s they did replace one bald guy with another, maybe is one of the key requirements for the position

    #4 3 years ago
  5. StolenGlory

    Swings and motherfucking roundabouts eh?

    Maybe this is what the Mayans meant when they said the world was going to end :)

    #5 3 years ago
  6. Ben

    Finally: no more Don Mattrick droning on at E3! (hopefully)

    #6 3 years ago
  7. Razor

    Sadly, Mattrick will probably still be there.

    He’ll have to be there so Phil can tap him on the shoulder…

    #7 3 years ago
  8. StolenGlory

    One thing will be for sure, E3 should be pretty fucking interesting this year!

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Joe Musashi

    Can’t wait for the Kinect Rubber Duck demo at the next E3.


    #9 3 years ago
  10. LOLshock94

    whats wrong with Phil Harrison?

    #10 3 years ago
  11. GamezIdiot

    Head of eruope studios is a heck of a demotion.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Ben

    @11 It’s all part of his plan to take over Microsoft…and then destroy them from the inside!

    #12 3 years ago
  13. TheBlackHole


    Not really. He was at Atari before this. After that, this a huge boon for him.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Razor

    Aye, he’ll give up big exclusives in favour of flops games like Lair and Heavenly Sword :P

    #14 3 years ago
  15. ManuOtaku

    #12 or maybe he is working as a double spy, pretending he is spying microsoft , while in reality he is spying sony, at this stance who knows.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. Moonwalker1982

    @8 You think so? because of phil harrison or the ongoing rumours about a xbox 3 reveal? which i dont see happening. i see another boring kinect filled show coming.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. Patrick Garratt

    Writing an editorial now. “Why this is fucking great news.”

    #17 3 years ago
  18. Ben

    I want to see Phil presenting at E3 with a green X emblazoned upon his shiny bald head :D

    #18 3 years ago
  19. Patrick Garratt

    Oh my God. Phil on stage at E3 doing Xbox stuff. Amazing.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. Colin Gallacher

    Oh Phil! Brilliant.

    @19 – Mindblown.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. Psychotext


    #21 3 years ago
  22. Patrick Garratt

    Edited. It’s true.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. Patrick Garratt

    Announced at 4pm.

    #23 3 years ago
  24. GamezIdiot

    Guys, guys, guys. Head of europe is a small fry position within MGS. What exactly is he in charge of, Lionhead, a bit of Rare some other admin in London. Its pathetic compared to his sony work.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. Colin Gallacher

    So when’s J Allard joining Sony?

    #25 3 years ago
  26. Patrick Garratt

    J’s “retired” ;-)

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Ben

    @24 Doesn’t matter. He did some great things for Sony and for him to have a voice – even if, as you say, it’s a less significant voice than he had at Sony – within Microsoft is a good thing..

    #27 3 years ago
  28. Balbarian

    Good to see J Allard’s secret (and similarly bald) lovechild is getting back in on some proper gaming exec action!

    Edit: Sorry Gallacher – didn’t notice your similar comparison with the Xbox former vet!

    #28 3 years ago

    Oh my days!

    #29 3 years ago
  30. DrDamn

    Interesting. He did some good stuff at Sony, but I think Yoshida has been much better since taking over.

    #30 3 years ago
  31. Patrick Garratt

    It’s news win bingo. Full house.

    #31 3 years ago
  32. Aimless

    Makes sense. Kinect is pretty much his dream come true, no?

    And my nightmare…

    #32 3 years ago
  33. Colin Gallacher

    @28 Great minds…blah blah :D

    #33 3 years ago
  34. Joe Musashi

    @31 It’ll be Fanboy bingo too. Fun to see who hated his guts under one company who’ll talk like he’s the messiah under a new one.

    Poor Gadzooks!, he must be so torn.


    #34 3 years ago
  35. Patrick Garratt

    Lots more background info in there for you now.

    #35 3 years ago
  36. Patrick Garratt

    Confirmed. Press release added. Editing now.

    #36 3 years ago
  37. daytripper

    @34 you have been no better than him at times

    #37 3 years ago
  38. daytripper

    @30 yep hes done well, plus he comes across as a likeable chap, harrison was obnoxious at Sony so it will be interesting to see how he does at Microsoft

    #38 3 years ago
  39. Ben

    I’m glad to see the press release makes numerous mentions of Phil joining the ‘leadership team’; hopefully his sphere of influence will be more significant than ‘just’ Europe.

    #39 3 years ago
  40. Razor

    Phil said some pretty dumb things about MS in their time, so it will certainly be funny seeing all those quotes thrown back in his face :)

    #40 3 years ago
  41. daytripper

    @40 on his first day the office assistants will probably drag his pants down and stick a Xbox logo carrot up his backside

    #41 3 years ago
  42. No_PUDding

    He’s come in at a ways down the ladder, but good on Microsoft for letting him back in.

    Hopefully he’ll be back up on stage in a couple of E3′s time.


    #42 3 years ago
  43. Joe Musashi

    @37 Yes. You’re right. I incessantly lash out wildly at anyone who dares to disagree with my single-company view of what is right and wrong whilst openly trolling platforms in other comment threads. I do this oblivious to my own behaviour, acting as though I am a paragon of virtue, impartiality and, most of all, sanity.

    Oh damn, you sure got me. Hoo boy.

    PS I am close personal friends with Phil Harrison and play squash every Thursday night. True story.


    #43 3 years ago
  44. daytripper

    @43 you said it although I would disagree, you are more of the sly, smarmy type rather than a malodorous runt.

    #44 3 years ago
  45. Joe Musashi

    Softly softly catchee fanboy


    #45 3 years ago
  46. Mike


    #46 3 years ago
  47. DSB

    You have got to be fucking kidding me. The guy is a complete moron! Microsoft has to be the most self-destructive company on the planet.

    “Oh, Phil Harrison, please come hurt us like you hurt Sony, we need the humiliation of your completely assinine, out of touch communication with the world”

    If you’re forced to take a job with Atari, that’s a pretty clear indicator that you have no redeeming values or talents as a human being. Although I guess the similarities between Microsoft and Atari are only increasing.

    And it’s not even April 1st. Fuck right off :P

    #47 3 years ago
  48. polygem

    holy…and now you tell me peter moore signed a contract with sony and i will have a next gen dejavue…

    #48 3 years ago
  49. loveaya

    he made a bad sell of ps3 in usa and he’ll make it worse for the sale of Xbox360 in europe lol

    #49 3 years ago
  50. Erthazus

    Ahaha. That’s just lol.

    #50 3 years ago
  51. Patrick Garratt

    Statement added about the hire being unrelated to the Molyneux departure.

    #51 3 years ago
  52. jdfoster00

    Don’t see the big fuss in this…Didn’t do a good job at Sony, or at Atari… Now at Microsoft… Don’t see the hype and fuss everyone is making about this…

    #52 3 years ago
  53. Patrick Garratt

    I’ve edited the headline. Very annoying.

    #53 3 years ago
  54. JimFear-666

    in about 6-10 years he will work at Nintendo… Mark my words

    #54 3 years ago

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