A veteran Sony and Microsoft gaming executive has joined the hardware development unit at Alphabet’s Google, and analysts said he could seriously help the business hone its efforts in mixed-reality technologies.
Phil Harrison said on Twitter late Monday that she started his job for a vice chairman at Google in California, but didn’t provide details. He is reporting to Rick Osterloh, Google senior vp for hardware, Google told Reuters .
Google declined to elaborate on Harrison’s role. Osterloh’s team designs Pixel smartphones, Chromebook laptops, Home smart speakers and Daydream virtual reality headsets.
Mixed reality encompasses services that project or display digital images using a screen near a user’s eyes, sometimes fully enveloping their field of view.
Google is focussing on hardware since it tries to compete against Apple’s iPhone and as well get the Google Assistant virtual help service into more devices.
Harrison spent about 10 years overseeing gaming development on Sony’s PlayStation console team, 1 year as president of gamemaker Atari SA and four years managing production in Europe for Microsoft’s Xbox group. He has said he left Microsoft in 2019 for more information on new technologies.
Last year, Harrison purchased Dream Reality Interactive, and that is developing games for virtual reality devices. The London startup failed to answer a request to comment.
Lewis Ward, research director for gaming at consulting firm IDC, told Reuters that Google may perhaps be tapping the well-respected Harrison for help out with augmented reality.
The technology enables game characters or navigation directions for being virtually overlaid on someone’s surroundings utilizing a smartphone or some other display.
“Google realizes fantastic big opportunity inside intersection of augmented reality and artificial intelligence on smartphones,” Ward said. “I suspect Phil is running a team to tug together disparate internal efforts while focusing it in direction designed to answer where Apple will be where Amazon may.”
Andy Kleinman, ceo of gaming hardware startup Wonder, said Google continues to be aggressive but disorganized in efforts around Daydream and other gaming-related technologies.
“Maybe Phil is the respond to a longer-term vision which brings together their scattered efforts into something big,” Kleinman said inside an email.