New Microsoft UK studio to focus on cloud games; Headed up by longstanding Rare exec Lee Schuneman

Phil Harrison lifts lid on Lift London

At a presentation in London today Phil Harrison, corporate vice president at Microsoft EMEA, confirmed that Microsoft’s new London studio is named Lift London.

"I wanted to create, from scratch, a 21st century studio – not a studio that would make retail games – but a studio that would make games for the cloud," said Harrison, introducing the outfit.

"I wanted to put together the most incredible talent for the studio."

The studio – which is headed up by Lee Schuneman who brings with him 16 years as part of the team at Microsoft-owned outfit Rare – will concentrate its effort on cloud content, in line with a company-wide drive to take Xbox from being focused around console to a service model that provides content across Microsoft hardware including tablet and Smartglass.

A core team of senior staff have already been hired, who are presently joined by a number of young coders including indie microstudio Dlala, which will work as its own outfit within Lift London.

The studio’s absolute hardware focus is tablet.

Schuneman also hinted that the studio will not limit its list of supported platforms to Microsoft hardware.

"We care about our platforms, and will focus on Microsoft, but we will always be open to looking at other platforms," explained Schuneman.

The outfit has been known about for some time, with Develop reporting on Lift’s existence back in July last year. However, today marks the public naming of the outfit, and initial confirmation of the studio’s staffing and structure.

Lift London will also focus largely on games for the European market.

"We very much believe that Europe is a great opportunity for us" said Harrison.

For now, Lift London will share the same central London office as Soho Productions. Harrison, however, made clear that as the teams of both outfits expand, a new home will be needed for Lift London.

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