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Last Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008, 14:07 GMT
PlayStation veteran stepping down
(From top left) Neil Young, Peter Molyneux, Raph Koster, Chris Taylor, Dave Perry and Phil Harrison
Mr Harrison (front right) was at the Game Developer's Conference
PlayStation veteran Phil Harrison has resigned as president of Sony's game development arm, the company has said.

Mr Harrison, who joined the firm before the release of the original PlayStation will step down on 29 February after nearly 15 years of service.

No reason for his departure has been given and Mr Harrison has not said if he has a new role already lined up.

Kazuo Hirai, Chief Executive of Sony's game operations, will assume Mr Harrison's responsibilities.

PlayStation launch

"As one of the founding members of [Sony Computer Entertainment], Phil played a key role in the development and growth of the PlayStation business and our industry," Mr Hirai said in a statement.

A UK citizen, he joined Sony in 1992 and in 2005 was appointed to head the firm's games development studios.

Darren Waters

It was hard not to spot the optimism beaming from both Sony execs and developers about the future at the Game Developers Conference

Darren Waters

He was president of Sony Computer Entertainment Worldwide Studios during the turbulent launch of the PlayStation 3.

Despite initial slow uptake of the console and fierce competition from Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony is now starting to see success with the PS3.

More than 10m of the machines have been sold so far and last month Sony's game division said it had made its first profit in two years, after it cut costs and boosted demand by lowering prices.

Mr Harrison has not given any reason for his departure but has expressed some frustration with the company's strategy in some areas.

Talking at the recent Game Developer's Conference last week, he said that Sony had dismissed social gaming in Japan.

"Our Japanese colleagues said that there is no such thing as social gaming in Japan - people do not play games on the same sofa together in each other's homes. It will never happen. And then out comes the Wii."

Mr Harrison was also very forthright about the console industry and predicted that content delivered over the internet was the future of gaming.

"Public utility computing is absolutely the future of the games industry," he said.

Mr Harrison did not mention his planned departure in the conversation.

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