Phil Harrison was the top Xbox boss in Europe, but he has left that job to do something new and secretive with a company of his own creation.
Alloy Platform Industries is Harrison’s first post-Microsoft startup. The company, which has a “deliberately meaningless” name, will deliver a consumer product based on technology that it’s licensing directly from Microsoft. Harrison, in an interview with GamesIndsutry.biz, wouldn’t talk in specifics about what that product does or what the technology is. He did say that Microsoft never demonstrated it to the public, so it’s not based on anything we’ve seen from that corporation before.
“Allow has licensed some technology from Microsoft that will form the basis of our initial investigations and explorations,” Harrison told GamesIndustry.biz. “But I’m not going to say any more than that. It’s unannounced technology that nobody outside Microsoft knows about.”
Harrison has left Microsoft at a time when the Xboxaa One is outpacing the sales for the Xbox 360 at this point in each console’s respective life cycles. But the latest Xbox is struggling when compared to Sony’s PlayStation 4, and that’s especially true in Harrison’s home territory of Europe where the PlayStation brand is dominant.
As the former head of Xbox Europe, Harrison would have learned about all the crazy Microsoft research-and-development projects, and that led to him leaving and licensing something that he is obviously excited about. He is betting big by forming his own company and working with Microsoft externally. But again, he won’t say anything about what it is because Alloy is in “stealth mode.”
“It’s very exciting and something I’ve been planning for a little over a year in full consultation and collaboration with Microsoft, [and] specifically with [Xbox boss] Phil Spencer,” said Harrison.
Harrison has a long history in the video game industry. He has previously worked at Sony Computer Entertainment, Atari, and cloud-streaming company Gaikai. And if he’s still collaborating with Spencer, who is in charge of everything gaming at Microsoft, it’s easy to imagine that Alloy is working on something related to games.
Harrison has an answer for that assumption. “We’re definitely in the same neighborhood,” he said. “Probably on the same street, but probably not the next-door house — if that makes any sense.”
It probably will some day.