Phil Harrison to oversee Microsoft's European game studios

While legendary game designer Peter Molyneux might have departed Microsoft Studios, another luminary is joining the team: former president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios, Phil Harrison. Update: Microsoft later clarified that "Phil's role on the IEB leadership team is completely unrelated to Peter's departure."

Microsoft has announced that Harrison will be the "senior leader" of their Interactive Entertainment Business in Europe, and will oversee Lionhead Studios, Soho Productions, and Rare Ltd.

"As the senior IEB leader in Europe, Phil will not only lead the Microsoft Studios European organization 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," the announcement details. Harrison is also expected to increase Xbox's development efforts in Europe.

At Sony, Harrison was largely credited for spearheading the development of PlayStation Home, and greenlighting games like LittleBigPlanet and Heavy Rain. He later moved on to Infogrames, as president of the still-floundering Atari. Most recently, he co-founded London Venture Partners, a venture capital firm focused on mobile and social games. It will be interesting to see Harrison's role at Microsoft, especially as a new console generation looms.