Phil Harrison, the former Sony exec who was instrumental in the launch of the PS3 and positioning the brand development is now the head of the European Games Studios for Microsoft according to Gameindustry. Previously with Atari and London Venture Partners, Harrison replaces Peter Molyneux who as of last week exited Lionhead Studios and Microsoft to join indie start-up 22-Cans.

Harrison is expected take responsibility for all Microsoft-owned UK studios.

Microsoft is expected to make the official announcement soon and we’ll have more news on this as it happens.

*Microsoft Update

Microsoft Corp. announces that Phil Harrison, video games luminary and former Sony executive, has joined the Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) leadership team as corporate vice president, with an emphasis on growing the division’s European business.

As the senior IEB leader in Europe, Phil will not only lead the Microsoft Studios European organisation directly, but 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.

In addition to the wealth of experience Harrison has in the console gaming space, he has immersed himself in new business models and technologies, particularly in the mobile and social space and will bring that market perspective to bear in the new role. He will also tap his deep experience in studio leadership to grow the development efforts of Xbox in Europe, including overseeing UK-based developers, Lionhead Studios, Soho Productions and Rare Ltd.

“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.”