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Harrison: "Atari is gaming's best opportunity"

Twelve hours after being unveiled as the president of Infogrames, Phil Harrison this morning delivered his first speech to colleagues and key press in Manhattan's Ritz-Carlton hotel

Twelve hours after being unveiled as the president of Infogrames, Phil Harrison this morning delivered his first speech to colleagues and key press in Manhattan's Ritz-Carlton hotel.

After an informal introduction by new CEO David Gardner, who spoke of "the vision Phil and I have been sharing and really enjoy, the idea of the future of a network-centric gaming world", Harrison described Atari as "the best opportunity that exists in the industry today to redefine, refocus and re-energise an incredible brand, an incredible group of people towards that networked future."

Explaining why he quit his former role as head of PlayStation development, he pointed to "the things that excited me the most, the things that turned me on as a gamer, and as a business person, and as a creative person were the future of our industry, the connected community experiences - all the things we're starting to see emerge that are really exciting players around the world.

"And those are the things I started thinking about in terms of creating a company or getting involved with a company to really shape and direct a business towards that future."

During the relaxed session, both Gardner and Harrison were keen to stress that their ambitious plans for the rebirth of Atari would also be "fun", the former EA exec insisting he did not want to "create a big corporate entity", with Harrison - who, like Gardner, was notably suitless and tieless, jesting: "as you can see David and I are the suits".

Harrison closed by talking up Eden Studios' Alone in the Dark, itself a bold rebirth of a classic brand. As our sister site Eurogamer revealed yesterday, Harrison arrived at Atari's New York HQ hours before the announcement of his new role, with one of his first tasks to sit down with Eden for a private demo of the Xbox 360 version of the game.

Gardner added: "This product will really make it clear where we're going, from a technology point of view, and a product quality point of view."

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Johnny Minkley

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Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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