Tag Archives: Phil Harrison
Sat, May 17, 2008 | 20:38 BST
According to this Next-Gen report, Sony’s named Phil Harrison’s replacement as president of SCE worldwide studios as Shuhei Yoshida, currently SVP of US studios at SCE worldwide.
“SCE WWS has been developing global hit titles, sharing resources and know-how within SCE Group since its foundation, and we will reinforce our software business by further enhancing coordination among the studios under a new leader,” said SCE boss Kaz Hirai.
“Under the leadership of Yoshida, who has proven track record in managing creative talent, SCE WWS will accelerate the software development for the PlayStation 3 and PSP platforms and vigorously expand the gaming market.”
Mon, Apr 14, 2008 | 14:18 BST
Infogrames boss David Gardner has told GamesIndustry.biz that the name “Infrogrames” may be ditched in favour of “Atari”.
“I’d like to consider that, I think that would be the final mark of the transformation from Infogrames to Atari,” he said. “We have a new board of directors, a new management team that’s less than a year old – so yes, it’s really continuing.
“We like to think of Infogrames, instead of being the tired, old company, we like to think of it as the best-funded, best-branded, most energetic start-up in the history of computer gaming.”
Plenty more through the link, including quotes from everyone’s favourite games warrior, Phil Harrison.
Fri, Mar 07, 2008 | 06:31 GMT
Infogrames has offered to buy the remaining Atari stock for $1.68 per share. The French firm already owns 51 percent of the ailing game-maker.
Atari signed a new distribution deal with parent Infogrames last December, to last for the next three years. We assume the mov to take complete control of the brand is all part of Gardner and Harrison’s future-forging antics.
Thu, Mar 06, 2008 | 17:44 GMT
Yep, you can watch it. It’s almost like being there. Phil’s looking nice in his shirt and jumper, and David Gardner’s sporting a black polo neck. This was shot in New York earlier this week ahead of an Alone in the Dark press presentation.
Tue, Mar 04, 2008 | 19:12 GMT
Explaining why he quit his former role as head of PlayStation development, he pointed to “the things that excited me the most, the things that turned me on as a gamer, and as a business person, and as a creative person were the future of our industry, the connected community experiences – all the things we’re starting to see emerge that are really exciting players around the world.
“And those are the things I started thinking about in terms of creating a company or getting involved with a company to really shape and direct a business towards that future.”
Full thing through the link.
Wed, Mar 05, 2008 | 12:11 GMT
Here. A very worthwhile GI piece that tells you everything you need to know about what future-creating BFFs Phil and David have to look back on as history in the Atari brand. Any article that begins, “The original Atari Inc was founded in 1972 by Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney as an arcade engineering firm, dealing in pinball machines and the primordial arcade videogame market,” has to be worth a read.
Tue, Mar 04, 2008 | 15:12 GMT
Not a future, but the future. Following news late last night that Phil Harrison is to join Infogrames as president, CEO David Gardner has got all excited about the new Atari.
“In terms of European leaders in the games development industry, I’ve always wanted to work with Phil,” he said. “He’s going to partner with me to build the future. He’ll be the most senior guy responsible for all the content and network-centric material, all the investments that we make in games.”
In effect, then, Phil Harrison is the future. We knew there was something about him.
Tue, Mar 04, 2008 | 22:04 GMT
Following last night’s revelation that Phil Harrison has now been appointed president of Infogrames, CEO David Gardner has been quick to dispel any conception that the company and its game-specific subsidiary Atari are in any way on thin ice.
“We have a lot more cash than start-up companies do,” he said. “So I view ourselves as a well-branded, well-financed start-up. That’s the position we’d rather be in than a poorly funded, disappointed, broken down old company.”
As reported late yesterday evening, Harrison is now the software head of the French firm, following a highly public departure from a 15-year career at SCEE last week. Expect to hear plenty more on the topic throughout the day.
Tue, Mar 04, 2008 | 20:56 GMT
As predicted (sorry, we said it was going to happen this morning), Phil Harrison has been confirmed as the new president of Atari’s parent company, Infogrames.
Harrison resigned from SCEE last week, where he enjoyed a 15-year career that culminated with him heading up Sony’s worldwide studios as president.
The press release can be found both here and after the link.
Update 2: Minkley’s got some reaction from Eden’s Alone in the Dark team in New York. Here.
Mon, Mar 03, 2008 | 07:43 GMT
We found him. Phil Harrison was at the 1 million PS3 party in London last night, and wasn’t giving many clues about what happened to cause his resignation or where he was going after Sony.
“He was completely avoiding saying anything about where he was going,” said one reveler. “He just laughed off the fact that people think he’s going to Atari by saying something like, ‘You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet.’”
Another mole described Harrison as “coy”.
“He just wouldn’t talk about [why he'd left Sony], and we were pretty much instructed by Sony just to leave him alone and let him have a nice evening. It was the first thing [UK PR] said: he doesn’t want to talk about leaving or anything to do with it and just let him get on with it, sort of thing. He was chatting to everyone. He wasn’t hiding, or anything.”
Harrison, president of worldwide studios for Sony, quit the company this week. He’s worked at SCEE for the past 15 years. Talk of a move to Atari quickly emerged, but, as you can see, nothing’s been confirmed as yet.
Mon, Feb 25, 2008 | 18:11 GMT
Mon, Feb 25, 2008 | 14:13 GMT
Expect this to be the first of several editorials on the departure of SCEE front-man Phil Harrison throughout today and this week. It’s essentially Colin Campbell’s take on the resignation (derived, it seems from a recent and “agreeable” lunch).
“He’s done launching consoles; so he won’t hop over to a direct Sony competitor; nor, I think, will he join an established third party publisher a la Peter Moore,” said Campbell, a view in contradiction to a just-published GI story that says he’s off to Atari.
There’s stuff in there on what Colin thinks Phil’s departure from Sony means to the company as well. Take a look.
Tue, Feb 26, 2008 | 16:31 GMT
Mon, Feb 25, 2008 | 22:19 GMT
Just in from Sony. Phil Harrison – president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, to give him his full job title – has resigned. Kaz Hirai, president of SCEI, is to take control of Sony worldwide studios, Harrison’s job up to this point.
“The past 15 years at Sony Computer Entertainment has been the defining journey of my life so far,” said Phil Harrison. “I am grateful to all the PlayStation family for their incredible support, guidance and friendship. It has been a privilege to serve as part of the team and be inspired by them on a daily basis. I am so proud of everything PlayStation has achieved and will continue to support its future in every way I can.”
No reason has been given for the departure and SCEE has said that it will be making no further comment on the situation. Full press release after the link.
Tue, Feb 26, 2008 | 07:27 GMT
Last week’s GDC was a strange affair that threw up more questions than answers. While it carried the predicted unveiling of Gears of War 2 and a Microsoft keynote holding traditional big hitters such as Fable 2 and Ninja Gaiden II, the event’s main speech’s message was by no means “the norm”. Yes, the blood, swords and guns were all where they were supposed to be, but at the core of John Sheppard’s keynote was a theme of radical change that permeated the entire conference, and one that left both developers and platform holders alike chewing their nails.
Sun, Feb 24, 2008 | 19:36 GMT
Dave “Shiny” Perry decided to arrange lunch at a posh San Francisco hotel for some industry luminaries, and let us sit in on it. The session, which was hosted by ex-PC Gamer editor Gary Whitta, was attended by Sony’s Phil Harrison, EA’s Neil Young, Peter Molyneux, Gas Powered Games’ Chris Taylor, Mr Perry himself, and MMO visionary Raph Koster.
The lunch began on the topic of what “next generation” actually meant, taking its cue from recent discussions of the term by David Braben, who had argued it had been devalued by the latest hardware failing to deliver actual next generation gaming experiences. The diners decided that what was truly next-generation was, as Phil Harrison put it, what was “in the spaces between what we do,” with the community, with networking, and with user-generated content.
Koster summed it up most succinctly, saying “It’s not the graphics, right? Xbox Live is the next-gen game you play on 360. It’s the connectivity and the meta-games. Next-next-gen will cut across more platforms.”
Koster said that things like achievements across a number of games, and connectivity between them represented genuine innovation for the gaming platforms.
Harrison also highlighted the ideas of what Wii had been capable of in shifting the emphasis of how games are played to social, family gaming, the kind of stuff he’s long been talking about with the SingStar and dance games. Harrison noted that there was something informative in the fact that “the Wii adverts were all from the perspective of the TV, looking at the players”, rather than being focused on impressive game footage.
Molyneux, meanwhile, wanted to maintain respect for other advances, such as those in graphical fidelity. He argued that while the industry heads might call meta-gaming and Wii control systems “next-gen” a consumer was just as likely to tag Call Of Duty 4′s incremental improvement to the FPS as next-gen. “Call Of Duty 4 is about how much you experience, and I think that is next-gen,” said the veteran Brit.
Perry chimed in agreement, saying “the games I want to play aren’t on the Wii.” Molyneux did concede that the Wii was too valuable to ignore, saying “the numbers for Wii are massive, we have to bring games out for it.”
The discussion moved on, with Neil Young (the EA one, not the singer) saying that because of the cost of Wii game development was slightly less the big companies could “afford to be a little more experimental.” He argued that the development community needed to learn to utilise the specific features of what made the Wii appealing such as “family play”, rather than simply porting PlayStation 2 games over. Young highlighted action-quizzer SmartyPants as an example of how this could be done effectively.
This led Phil Harrison to point out that games are taking too long to make. “The speed of iteration has to change,” said the Sony giant. Koster argued that games were shamed by the web, whose speed of iteration of web-sites was lightening fast. “Flickr patches ever half hour!” he exclaimed.
All this talk of the status of traditional game development segued neatly into the second topic, which was the status of simplicity in gaming. Gas Powered’s Chris Taylor argued that “people want simple and deep”. He cited WoW, saying “When WoW starts out the screen is clear, when it’s level 70 it looks like a helicopter. That’s exactly right, and we know its right because of the numbers WoW has done.”
The discussion then moved rapidly into discussion of casual games, piracy, and all the other bugbears that terrify the classic large-scale development companies. Koster, ever the fact-machine, noted that PopCap’s casual gaming surveys had suggested that there were around 20 million people playing casual games like Peggle. Molyneux was aghast and didn’t seem to believe the figure: “200 million? It’s inconceivable!”
“There are 500 million phones going to be sold with games on in the next year,” offered Harrison. Again Molyneux was incredulous, only this time at the idea that people would really use those phones for gaming.
Returning, via love for the iPhone, to the notion of simplicity as a driving principle for game design, Neil Young argued that older generations, who had played the early arcade games and then been out off by difficulty and complexity, were now returning to gaming in droves. “The Wii is bringing people back to gaming,” he said. Harrison took it further: “It’s not just the Wii, it’s the web, and everything else.”
Perry agreed, telling a tale so many gamers have told about non-gaming friends picking up the plastic guitar and then wanting to go right out and buy a PlayStation. “The cost of making a peripheral is not too much,” said Perry, who argued that hardware costs should be accepted when developers can come up with such impressive design as Guitar Hero and Rock Band. Hardware interfaces, he said, should not be a problem.
Molyneux agreed, saying that he wanted the new Fable game to be picked up by newbies: “We’re just using one button for Fable 2. For us there are too many buttons on the controller.” Koster had another fact, saying that there were “eighteen dimensions” of control across the 360 controller. “I counted,” he affirmed.
Harrison too wondered if the controller was the biggest stumbling block for accessible game design. He said that handing a non-gamer a gamepad was like “handing them a loaded gun, or a grenade with the pin pulled out.” He waved his hands about the emphasize the point in comedic fashion.
This brought the discussion full circle, with the lunch gang seeming to agree that next-generation interfaces would have to be simpler. Koster delivered a provocative tangent to this idea, saying that “Flash is the next gen console.” He illustrated this by citing the fact that he could play a Flash game at home on his PC, or with a stylus on his pocket PC, or even on his phone. “There are more Flash installs that there are consoles in the last two generations,” Raph pointed out. And it’s a technology that is evolving exponentially, as GDC keynote speaker Ray Kurzweil (who was referenced several times in the discussion) had highlighted. Koster also said that Flash will have 3D polygon transforms in Flash10, and OpenGL in the canvas tag was something that was being worked on for Firefox.
“Good luck making money on a Flash game,” said Neil Young. He saw the current trends as simply dispersing how and where games were played. Flash games might be ubiquitous, but they were not the future for the man from EA, who argued that the proliferation of platforms and interfaces simply served different needs for different games. He did have some suggestions about what that might mean for hardware, however. “Maybe there doesn’t need to be a device in the home,” he suggested. “Can it be rendered on a server and delivered via the network?”
Harrison said that the speed of light might have something to say about such undertakings, but journalist turned developer Gary Penn, sat in the background, said that it was already happening.
Chris Taylor seemed to think that something like that was close to the nature of where he wanted to go with gaming. “Secure PC gaming is the future,” he said. “All server based.”
At this point Whitta chimed in, paraphrasing something Harrison had said in a previous session. “Is this the last generation where physical media has any relevance?”
The group seemed unsure, but Harrison was admitted that “it’s moving away from the disc as a business model.” Was Whitta’s Blu-Ray collecting the behaviour of a dinosaur? Yes, they joked, but the reality seemed to be that no one saw physical media has having much traction in the coming years. Koster underlined he point by recalling a student recently asking, “What’s a CD player?”
Finally Molyneux made us all turn off our dictaphones so he could talk off the record about Fable 2. And… we can’t talk about that just yet, but obviously that was next-generation too.