Google’s latest hire suggests it’s eyeing up entering the games industry

Google has made a peculiar hire that could suggest it’s looking to enter the games industry in some capacity beyond simply organising apps via the Google Play Store.

Google’s latest hire suggests it’s eyeing up entering the games industry

Speculation has arisen as games industry figure Phil Harrison joins the Google team as vice president and general manager, based at company headquarters in California. It’s unclear exactly what Harrison’s role as VP and GM will entail, but his CV reads like a greatest hits of game industry greats.

As Polygon points out, Harrison has spent 15 years heading up Sony’s various game studios, three years as a senior member of the Xbox team, and has served as an advisor to a multitude of companies including Atari and the Gaikai streaming service that was bought by Sony.

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Google has made no official announcement around the hire of Harrison, suggesting that it has bigger plans for him than simply acting as VP and GM. The news only came to light when Harrison himself tweeted out that he was joining the company, stating: “excited to be able to share today that I’ve started a new role as Vice President and GM of Google – and relocating (back) to California.”

If Google was eyeing up an expansion into games, the most logical area it would be looking is to supply titles for its Daydream VR platform and to boost investment in its ARCore platform too. Google also hosted a Google Developer Day at last year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC) so it’s clearly eyeing up the space.

Harrison is also known to be interested in AR, stating in an interview with Eurogamer that he believes “more of the world is going to be interested in a mixed reality: an augmented reality where you can still see, you can still hear, you can still interact with real people, but it’s augmented with additional data. That is the end goal.”

If Google wants to put his passion for a mixed reality future to the test, hiring him to lead a project on AR is certainly the way they’d do it.

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