Phil Harrison To Reportedly Depart From Microsoft

Posted on March 5, 2015 by Alan Walsh

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Phil Harrison is the VP of Interactive Entertainment Business (Xbox) and EMEA head of games at Microsoft and today, reports have surfaced saying he will be departing from the company. The reason goes back to July 2013 when previous president of Interactive Entertainment Business, Don Mattrick, departed from the company to become CEO of Zynga. In March 2014, Phil Spencer was promoted to Head of Xbox by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, getting the top job. Mattrick and Harrison have a long standing friendship and share great respect for each other. Phil Harrison has apparently grown frustrated over Mattrick’s exit and Spencer’s promotion without moving Harrison up the corporate ladder. It’s reported that Harrison has made the decision to move on with his career.

Don Mattrick (pictured above) is good friends with Harrison and brought him into Microsoft.

The new comes in conjunction with the reports that Microsoft are planning on merging its Lift London and Soho Productions studios. Several job cuts also took place with this change. Harrison founded Lift London and recently Microsoft also axed the idea of producing original ‘Upload’ content for Xbox One simply stating that the Xbox Live community is now what makes the content. Rectify Gaming was recently told that Microsoft is planning to re-focus Soho Productions (the studio behind Upload original content and Upload Studio) on another path. While this means there won’t be “Upload original content”, there will be updates added to Upload Studio along with other projects.

Questions rose at GDC over the recent reports, with Spencer saying “I don’t, no. I’m sorry, I don’t think I can say anything about that,” Xbox boss Phil Spencer told Eurogamer when asked today at GDC. Chris Charla, director of ID@Xbox also refused to comment – with a Microsoft spokesperson stepping in to say Charla wasn’t the person to ask about staffing issues, and that the company does not comment on rumour or speculation. Spencer’s comment does show he’s very aware of the issue and may already know that Harrison is departing from Microsoft, if not already.

Harrison previously worked at Sony up until 2008 , then taking the job at Microsoft in 2012 offered to him by Don Mattrick. We’ll keep you updated if Microsoft gives an official statement on the report.

Phil Harrison speaking at Eurogamer 2013 pictured above.

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