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John Needham heads up new Microsoft EU publishing team

Leo McCloskey August 29, 2013 - 10:13 pm

New Lionhead boss to split time with fledging “on the ground group” snapping up top European properties including “games that incorporate innovative business models like free-to-play and freemium.”

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Newly appointed Lionhead, er, head – John Needham – will be fronting a new European Microsoft publishing group. Needham, who was appointed to the chief role at Lionhead just last April, will now split his duties across the two projects as Microsoft looks to “find games that incorporate innovative business models like free-to-play and freemium” from EU markets.

“What we’re trying to do with this team, it’s a first party publishing group, is across Europe find AAA quality games that we can publish,” Needham tells GamesIndustry. “Find games that incorporate innovative business models like free-to-play and freemium and other models that are floating around out there. Finding games that are mostly online focused and games as a service and that’s why I’m leading the group, because I have a lot of experience in that. Also finding games and developers that really resonate with the gamer community across Europe but also have a broader worldwide appeal.”

Microsoft’s first title under the banner will be Crytek’s Warface – already confirmed for a 2014 launch for Xbox 360. Needham’s previous works include Marvel Heroes – leaving the publishing of Warface and the future pursuit of free-to-play content firmly in his wheelhouse.

“What we’re trying to accomplish with the group is to contribute to a bigger goal with the EMEA organisation within Microsoft, to double our share in France and Germany from a market perspective.,” Needham continues. “That’s the key reason why we’re here and we’re forming this group, we think we need an on the ground group in Europe to do that. Obviously I’m not European, but most of the guys in the group are and have that sensibility.”

“But certainly we’re looking for a lot of smaller games too for other platform features that we haven’t spoken about yet but that are coming for Xbox One.”

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