Microsoft Studios' future lies in the 'connected audience'

VP Phil Harrison reveals publisher moving away from packaged goods and towards becoming "operator of connected devices"; London studio established to develop "new IP and business models."

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Microsoft Studios will be increasingly looking to transition its major gaming titles across multiple platforms for the "connected audience", according to Microsoft corporate vice president Phil Harrison.

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Speaking today at a London press briefing, Harrison said that the future of Microsoft Studios will be in transitioning from "device-centric" to "cloud-centric" titles accessible on multiple devices. Harrison, who held various high-level positions at Sony up until early 2008 said that such thinking "is what influenced me to join Microsoft in the first place."

"Everything we do will have increasingly deep social and additional features that are reliant on the network, enhanced by the network, and unlocked by the network," Harrison said, adding that Microsoft will be "moving from being creator of packaged products to being an operator of connected services."

Harrison also unveiled a new first-party Microsoft studio named Lift London. While Lift had no titles to show at present, Harrison announced that its fledgling developer is being helmed by Lee Schuneman, a Rare veteran who started at the company as game director on Diddy Kong Racing.

According to Schuneman, Lift London is a "21st century studio" that will create "for the cloud, network and multitude of devices." The studio will be working on "delivering entertainment as a service" and will be initially focusing on developing predominantly for Microsoft's European territories.

Microsoft also announced that it will be recruiting over 100 new people to Microsoft Studios' London operations before the end of the fiscal year.

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