Tech giant Google has officially hired on Phil Harrison, former executive for Sony and Microsoft, as its Vice President and General Manager. Harrison took to Twitter to announce the news. Harrison is actually walking into an open role, and will be serving directly under Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Like any Google executive, of course, he will still have to answer to Alphabet higher-ups such as CFO and Senior Vice President Ruth Porat, as well as Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Harrison’s time at Google begins immediately, since he has no position to move away from. He did not say on Twitter whether his adventures as a game industry investor and incubator will continue.
Harrison was previously a high-level executive at Sony Computer Entertainment, Inc, running research and development, as well as a number of first party studios. His tenure there lasted until 2008, and started back in 1992. During that time, he served in a variety of executive positions, including 3rd party relations. This means that PlayStation fans own him at least partial thanks for pulling big-name third-party titles and developers like Square-Enix, as well as semi-first-party titles like Crash Bandicoot, Killzone, and Uncharted. After that, he went over to Microsoft in 2012, and did much the same thing until 2015. In the interim, he began investing in game startups and essentially making himself a free agent in the industry. That continued after his separation from Microsoft, and may continue on the side while he’s with Google.
Google talked not long ago about increasing its focus on gaming, and pulling in an industry veteran that’s been on two out of the three major sides of the console wars is one of the best possible ways to go about it. Google may spin off a separate game development studio, but for the time being, Harrison is being hired directly into Google, the same company in charge of Chrome, Search, and Play, among other efforts under the Alphabet umbrella. The roles that Harrison will play in Google’s core business is unknown for the time being, and so is just how much Google plans to draw on his previous experiences in the wild world of video games.