989 Studios Dials 911

Sony Gaming Arm Reviews $15 Mil. Account
SAN FRANCISCO–Video game developer and publisher 989 Studios, a division of Sony Computer Entertainment America, is conducting a review for its $15 million account. The business includes creative and media duties.
Agency presentations will take place at the client’s Foster City, Calif., offices this week, sources said. The shops have been asked to present a positioning strategy for 989 and its games in North America, especially in the sports category.
A final decision is expected by the end of the month, as the client wants a new ad campaign to break by March, sources said.
Jeffrey Fox, 989 Studios vice president of marketing, who sources said is handling the review, declined to comment.
989 Studios, which makes games for Sony’s Playstation game console, became a separate division under SCEA last April. TBWA/Chiat/Day, Playa del Rey, Calif., which handles advertising for Playstation, has created work for some 989 games in the past, including its best-selling title, NFL GameDay ’99. It was unclear if the shop is a contender in the review. The agency declined to comment.
989 sent initial questionnaires to select agencies nationwide late last month. Sources said the company has since conducted one-hour work sessions with each contender to gauge their understanding of 989 and its gaming titles, which include Cool Boarders, Twisted Metal and NHL Face-Off.
989 is the third-largest Sony Playstation software publisher in North America, with development studios in Santa Monica, Calif., and San Diego. The company competes directly with game makers such as EA Sports, Nintendo and Sega.