Harrison is new Infogrames president

Former Sony man to handle software.

Atari has confirmed that Phil Harrison has joined mother-company Infogrames as president, working beside new CEO David Gardner. Well, they'll probably have their own offices. Maybe they have walkie-talkies.

As our sister site GamesIndustry.biz reported last week, Harrison has arrived with the aim of reinvigorating the company's software business.

He flew into New York on Monday with Gardner, presumably to get started.

"This is the perfect time to join Infogrames and help shape the future of Atari - one of the industry's legendary brands. As the game business moves rapidly online I believe we have an outstanding opportunity to create amazing network game and community experiences for players the world over," said Harrison.

"I am especially excited to be working on this challenge together with David, one of the most respected leaders and successful executives in our industry."

Harrison resigned last week as president of Sony Computer Entertainment's Worldwide Studios, having been among the company's best-known figures and the public face of initiatives like Game 3.0.

Gardner said: "I am pleased to welcome Phil to Infogrames. He has an outstanding reputation in the industry, as one of the key leaders behind the success of PlayStation. We have been seeking an opportunity to work together for some time and I am certain he will be able to make a significant contribution to the publishing strategy of the Group.

"Drawing upon Infogrames' strong financial foundation, Phil will have the means to attract new talent, develop studio and online capabilities, and drive forward our publishing activities. I want to work with people that understand fun for consumers and fun in the company culture. We're going to have a lot more of both around here with Phil!"

Harrison's new colleague Gardner told GamesIndustry.biz on Monday that he intends to move the company into online gaming, with a particular interest in secure server-based gaming and the free-to-play market.

"The business and the industry is moving online on a global basis," he said.

"It's moving at different speeds in different countries, but it's pretty clear to me that the whole way that people are going to want to buy their games, play their games, interface with their games is network-centric."

Harrison's experience with PlayStation Network, including the PlayStation Store, PlayStation Home and SingStore - the online element of Sony's SingStar karaoke game - will probably be useful then.

Gardner, formerly of EA, also said that the company's existing portfolio of brands from past acquisitions - including Gremlin, GT Interactive, Ocean and Accolade - could be key to its reinvention. Bring back Bedlam!

"It's not going to be hard to bring well-known properties to market, it's going to be hard to make sure they are relevant and good in today's terms. We're not just going to re-release 1980s classics untouched - that would be a mistake," he said.

Infogrames recently announced a 0.8 percent rise in nine-month sales, helped by growth in Europe and Asia.

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