PRWeek can reveal that Sony Computer Entertainment is in closed discussions with a small number of agencies ahead of parting company with John Doe in June.
The talks cover the brand’s UK consumer brief, a key focus of which is sustaining the loyalty of existing fans of Sony’s gaming output while continuing to develop its appeal to families.
The move also signals a split in the relationship between John Doe founder Rana Reeves and Sony Computer Entertainment, which began when he worked at Jackie Cooper Public Relations (now JCPR) more than a decade ago.
David Wilson, UK head of PR for Sony Computer Entertainment, said the announcement of the PlayStation4 seemed like a natural break.
Pointing to Microsoft’s still-to-be-unveiled Xbox 360 successor, Wilson added: ‘It’s about standing out in what is a very competitive market. We have a big job to do.’
Sony previewed its first new PlayStation for six years in New York in February. It is yet to confirm the date of its UK release, but industry speculation is that it will arrive before the end of the year.
The launch is viewed as critical for a company that posted a loss of £3.2bn in the last financial year. John Doe launched with Sony Computer Entertainment as a client in 2009, and has since worked on campaigns including a collaboration between game LittleBigPlanet and N-Dubz.
Reeves said: ‘I’ve had a constrictive contract that hasn’t allowed me to work with other games providers, so I am looking forward to that.’
Sony’s ongoing relationships with Shine, for European strategy, and HPS Jardine, which handles project work, will not be affected by the review.
-The head of Sony’s video games unit Kazuo Hirai, credited for growing the popularity of the PS3, took over as Sony CEO last year.
-The PS3 had a 43 per cent share of the games console market in 2012, up from 24 per cent when it launched in 2007.
-The loss of £3.2bn in its last financial year is the fourth straight year Sony has reported a deficit.
Note: The magazine incorrectly states that the brand is Sony Music Entertainment. It is in fact Sony Computer Entertainment. PRWeek apologises for any confusion caused.