LONDON: Sony is preparing to conduct an agency search for its high-profile gaming work, including the make-or-break launch of the PlayStation4.
PRWeek UK can reveal that Sony Computer Entertainment is in closed discussions with a small number of agencies before parting company with John Doe in June.
The talks are covering 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.
“It's about standing out in what is a very competitive market,” said Wilson, pointing to Microsoft's still-to-be-unveiled Xbox 360 successor. “We have a big job to do.”
Sony previewed its first new PlayStation in 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 significant losses 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.
“I've had a constrictive contract that hasn't allowed me to work with other games providers, so I am looking forward to that,” said Reeves.
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% share of the games console market in 2012, up from 24% when it launched in 2007.
- Its last financial year is the fourth straight that Sony reported a deficit.
This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK, the sister publication of PRWeek at Haymarket Media.