Phil Harrison Resigns from Sony… going to …?

SonyIn three days on the elusive February 29th, Phil Harrison (President of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios) will clear out his office. After spending 15 years with Sony, no specific reason has been publicly announced for the departure. But there are some ideas.

Phil HarrisonThe smug gentleman to the right here is our buddy Phil Harrison, who has been lately annoyed by Sony’s sloth-like approach to casual gaming. Harrison was the guy behind some of Sony’s biggest casual endeavours… some successful and some not. Eye-Toy, Singstar, and Buzz! To name a few over the past several years. Rumours flourish about where Harrison will be headed, here’s one possibility:

Infogrames: You might otherwise know as the current Atari, Infogrames is currently restructuring its employees and possibly management, and is looking for people just like Phil. David Gardner, the new CEO at Infogrames was recorded saying: “My goal is to help rebuild that passion around the company,” and further added, “First, with the employees and then very quickly to spread it virally on the internet to millions of new customers. I have a personal challenge to create a world-class company that is European in flavour but reaches global markets.” Sounds like a convincing argument, this one is brought to you by GamesIndustry.biz.

Nintendo: While Harrison was complaining about Sony’s lack of forethought in casual gaming, he praises the approach that Nintendo took. “And our Japanese colleagues said that there is no such thing as social gaming in Japan – people do not play games on the same sofa together in each other’s homes. It will never happen. And then out comes the Wii.” Harrison said, following these words with admiration for the big N. He even goes further to state how much he liked the advertisements and calls Wii Sports a true next-gen game.

Though Nintendo currently seems well enough on its own two feet, roping in the best casual talent from the competitors would be a very smart move. The casual market is one of the fastest growing market segments, and Nintendo is at the helm. This little theory is one of my own.

You could also implicate the news with the recent EA/Take-Two talks, or the still-fresh Blizzard/Activision merger. The industry seems to be in a state of flux and Harrison might pop up in the most unlikely of places. There is one thing that we know for sure, however.

Kaz Hirai, the President/Group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment International now also picked up Harrison’s title, and all of the work that goes along with it. Hopefully this doesn’t spread Kaz too far, if things start to slip for Sony again… who’s next to quit?

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