Various sources have confirmed GameIndustry.biz’s original report that Phil Harrison will soon leave Microsoft.
So far, Xbox’s Phil Spencer has declined to comment, though he did tell Eurogamer at the Game Developers Conference (more commonly referred to as GDC) on 4 March that, “I’m sorry, I don’t think I can say anything about that.”
The director of ID@Xbox, Chris Charla, was also approached by Eurogamer and he too refused to comment.
Harrison has been at Microsoft since 2012 and before that he was the president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios (which is where he most notably made a name for himself establishing the PlayStation brand). He also had notable roles at Gaikai, the videogame streaming service, and Atari in the past.
Harrison first joined Microsoft when the Xbox division was led by Don Mattrick. Since Mattrick’s departure, Harrison has been less of a public figure. Phil Spencer was promoted to head of Xbox in Mattrick’s absence and the report by GameIndustry.biz suggests that Harrison wasn’t very happy that he wasn’t offered the promotion himself.
Harrison announced the launch of Lift London, a London-based videogame studio formed with the idea of creating content for mobile devices and TV’s back in January 2013 and coincidentally, GameIndustry.biz has recently reported that Lift London will now be closed and have its staff folded into Microsoft’s Soho Productions team. It’s not too far-fetched to assume that Harrison’s departure may have something to do with this, though it’s unlikely that Microsoft will confirm or deny it.