Breaking! SOE Acquired by Columbus Nova, to become Daybreak Game Company

Written by Feldon on . Posted in Game Updates & Maintenance

columbusnova

The announcement has been posted on all game forums including the EverQuest II forums and H1Z1’s Reddit:

Dear Players, Partners and Friends,

Today, we are pleased to announce that we have been acquired by Columbus Nova, an investment management firm well known for its success with its existing portfolio of technology, media and entertainment focused companies. This means that effective immediately SOE will operate as an independent game development studio where we will continue to focus on creating exceptional online games for players around the world, and now as a multi-platform gaming company. Yes, that means PlayStation and Xbox, mobile and more!

As part of this transition, SOE will now become Daybreak Game Company. This name embodies who we are as an organization, and is a nod to the passion and dedication of our employees and players. It is also representative of our vision to approach each new day as an opportunity to move gaming forward.

So what exactly does this mean for you? It will be business as usual and all SOE games will continue on their current path of development and operation. In fact, we expect to have even more resources available to us as a result of this acquisition. It also means new exciting developments for our existing IP and games as we can now fully embrace the multi-platform world we are living in.

Our games and players are the heart and soul of our organization, and we are committed to maintaining our portfolio of online games and pushing the limits of where we can take online gaming together.

Thank you for your continued support. See you in game!

The Team at Daybreak

 

A relevant tweet by SOE Daybreak President John Smedley:

Here’s a link to an article on Forbes.
Here’s an article on Polygon:

Sony Online Entertainment, developer of EverQuest, Planetside and the recently releasedH1Z1, has been sold by Sony to investment firm Columbus Nova, the company announced today. The developer will now operate as an independent game studio under a new name, Daybreak Game Company.

We are excited to join Columbus Nova’s impressive roster of companies,” said John Smedley, president of Daybreak Game Company. ” They have a proven track record in similar and related industries and we are eager to move forward to see how we can push the boundaries of online gaming. “We will continue to focus on delivering exceptional games to players around the world, as well as bringing our portfolio to new platforms, fully embracing the multi-platform world in which we all live.

Daybreak Game Company will continue to work on H1Z1EverQuest NextEverQuest Landmark and other game projects that started at SOE. And now that the studio is independent of Sony, it will develop its titles for Xbox and mobile platforms, not just PlayStation and PC.

Here’s the Press Release:

Columbus Nova Acquires Sony Online Entertainment

Leading Online Games Company Rebranded Daybreak Game Company 

SAN DIEGO – February 2, 2014 – Columbus Nova, an investment management firm based in New York, announced today that it has completed its acquisition of Sony Online Entertainment LLC (SOE), a recognized worldwide leader in massively multiplayer online (MMO) games and emergent gameplay.

Best known for its community-first approach, and blockbuster hits and franchises, including EverQuest®, PlanetSide®2, DC Universe™ OnlineH1Z1, Landmark™ and the highly-anticipated EverQuest Next™, SOE has developed compelling online entertainment for a variety of platforms since 1999.

With the completion of the transaction, SOE will now operate as an independent game development studio and will continue to focus on creating quality online games, providing excellent service to its extensive player base, while centering on its untapped potential as a multi-platform online gaming company. Along with the transaction, SOE will be rebranded and operate under the new name of Daybreak Game Company LLC ( www.DaybreakGameCompany.com.)

“Sony Online Entertainment, newly rebranded as Daybreak, is a great addition to our existing portfolio of technology, media and entertainment focused companies. We see tremendous opportunities for growth with the expansion of the company’s game portfolio through multi-platform offerings as well as an exciting portfolio of new quality games coming up, including the recently launched H1Z1 and the highly anticipatedEverQuest Next to be released in the near future,” said Jason Epstein, Senior Partner of Columbus Nova. “The recent Early Access launch success of H1Z1 is just one testament to the talent and dedication of the studio’s developers to create great online gaming experiences.”

“We are excited to join Columbus Nova’s impressive roster of companies. They have a proven track record in similar and related industries and we are eager to move forward to see how we can push the boundaries of online gaming,” said John Smedley, President, Daybreak Game Company. “We will continue to focus on delivering exceptional games to players around the world, as well as bringing our portfolio to new platforms, fully embracing the multi-platform world in which we all live.”

About Columbus Nova

Founded in 2000, Columbus Nova is a multi-strategy investment firm managing over $15 billion of assets through its own funds and affiliated portfolio companies. Columbus Nova has a broad investment mandate and operates four distinct but complementary investment groups that invest in corporate credit, private equity, venture/growth equity and real estate.

And now we know why SOE Live hasn’t been announced yet. Because there’s no way it will be called SOE Live.

Trackback from your site.

Comments (57)

  • Betony

    |

    WOW! Managed to not drop coffee cup on keyboard. My fingers are tired already from seeking out information about the acquisition. It’s a stormy morning here so a good way to get the brain working in between cloud bursts. WOW!

    I do like the new name.

    Reply

  • Necromancer

    |

    Wow. This could be really exciting news. Crossing fingers that this is like a new beginning for former SOE MMO’s.

    Reply

  • Erin

    |

    Mmm if they would invest into developers EQ2 can only get better.

    On the other hand… they didn’t fire Smedley and smokejumper *sighs*:)

    Reply

    • Zapphod

      |

      My experience with investment companies is that they rarely invest in development but rather buy, strip and sell off.

      Reply

      • GriffonLady

        |

        That’s what I’m afraid of. :\

        Reply

        • Erin

          |

          Indeed :/

          Reply

      • Gaealiege

        |

        That’s my experience as well. I’ve seen multiple mergers and acquisitions in my career and not a single one of them was beneficial to the people doing the actual work.

        Reply

  • Eric T Lewis

    |

    Is anybody else not worried by the term multiplatform?

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      We’ll see XBox One games for sure. Maybe more entrance into Mobile which SOE has continually lagged behind at.

      Reply

      • Eric T Lewis

        |

        I got the old xbox 360 that I not used in 3 years, I was almost ready to buy the ps4 there are a couple of games that looked promising. I wonder about the ps4 part of it. Trying not to be a negative Nancy about this, but you know how us older than 50 sort don’t like changes.

        Reply

        • Betony

          |

          Speak for yourself, Eric! This over-50 person welcomes change lol. It’s genetic on both sides. I come two long lines of kitchen gadget geeks and it just transitioned naturally to tech. Bring on the new stuff!

          Reply

  • Corydonn

    |

    I do wonder if this will affect SoE live or whatever they want to call it now.

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      This explains why it hasn’t been announced yet. DBG Live? Daybreak Live?

      Reply

      • Cyliena

        |

        FAN FAIRE!!! (wishful thinking)

        Reply

        • Antonia Bayles Bit on the side

          |

          Yeah Dexella has also just confirmed no convention this year at all. Sad to hear. Hopefully it will be back in some form next year.

          Reply

  • iadien

    |

    I think this is a great thing. Especially having access to more resources and not being forced to be on Sony exclusive hardware.

    Reply

  • Noctew

    |

    Yes, but “investment management firm”? Sounds like what we call “Heuschrecke” (locust) in German: those companies that buy other companies, make them short-term profitable while sacrificing long term profits and then sell them off again. Hope I’m wrong…

    Reply

    • Fievall

      |

      I think you are correct. Every time I hear the phrase investment management firm I cringe. Maybe this will be the one time where they invest money into the company to hire more people and expand the games but it’s more likely they will start by consolidate the devisions by cutting staff to increase profits. Then they will likely use the brand names we know to make freemium games for the mobile market. Not evil but it’s what I’ll be looking out for.

      Reply

  • Antonia Bayles Bit on the side

    |

    Whoa this is has come out of leftfield, though I’ve kind of been expecting it to happen since the big hack 3 or 4 years ago.

    My guess is there probably won’t be a huge amount more pumped into EQ / EQ2 than is already happening, maybe an extra dev / artist or two, and perhaps some better marketing campaigns. Afterall EQ2 should have really had the crown that WoW managed to claim, WoW just had some better marketing and fortune when both games were released.

    I imagine the lions share of any investment will go into developing future properties and those currently in production e.g. EQN / Landmark / H1Z1 and likely others are already on the drawing board that we don’t know about.

    I just hope the EQ franchise is secure for the long-term forseeable future, that includes the original EQ, as whilst my heart is currently in EQ2, I still have plans to see and do it all in EQ when time permits. It would be a very sad day indeed if either game happened to be sunsetted, Honestly, if I’m still alive and kicking I can probably see myself kicking around in both games in 10 to 20 years time.

    Staying positive, hopefully it will be a good thing all round, but the proof will be in the pudding over the course of the next year or two I guess.

    Reply

    • Antonia Bayles Bit on the side

      |

      * but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. Been a long day lol.

      Reply

  • Kedoka

    |

    With the new cross-platform focus, maybe we will see some news for the windows phone mobile platform? would like to see the same apps currently on android/ios for windows phone.

    Reply

  • Caela

    |

    I want to keep a glass is half full attitude towards this. I know there will be plenty of doom and gloom speculation – and a lot of times, nothing will come of it. But who knows. I don’t like the idea of an investment firm taking over. That didn’t work out too well for my husband’s company. But again, who knows what the future holds.

    I’ll keep playing until they shut it down though.

    Reply

  • unclex

    |

    I wonder how things like smed cash is going to be transitioned

    Reply

    • Noctew

      |

      Why would it need to be transitioned? Daybreak is SOE…under new ownership.

      Reply

  • Wirewhisker

    |

    I imagine this is still a profit-producing game, and that if so, our new Corporate Overlords will see fit to leave this 10+ year old profit-producing game alone in terms of big changes. Let the groundbreaking occur elsewhere, as it were.

    Even so, I’m definitely not going to be renewing any accounts long-term…month-to-month only.

    Reply

  • Gak

    |

    The best we can hope for is that the assets of our games are sold as quickly as possible to another company that has some kind of experience in gaming. Columbus Nova is part of Renova Group. I’ll let you do your own research on that conglomerate but you only get to be the richest man in Russia by doing things the russian way! http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/u-s-court-charges-renova-group-billionaire-duo-for-armed-takeover-in-russia/502610.html

    Reply

      • Froak

        |

        from the Renova site page on columbus nova…

        CEO -Andrew Intrater

        from cntp.com site…

        partners…. Andrew Intrater

        might be an offshoot aimed specifically at tech investments.

        Reply

        • Betony

          |

          Might want to do a little more checking and verifying before slinging mud.

          Reply

          • Gak

            |

            What are you talking about?

            It’s easy to verify that http://www.cntp.com and http://www.columbusnova.com have the same New York address and phone number, have several of the same partners and are part of the much larger conglomerate, Renova Group.

            If you have evidence to the contrary then please provide but I like to know who I’m spending my money/time on and I don’t like what I see right now. It may work out but IMO there’s going to be a LOT more pressure on Daybreak to perform (read $$$) than there was before.

            Reply

          • Gaealiege

            |

            How’s that crow tasting?

            Reply

          • Betony

            |

            No crow taste here. Being married to a soldier of fortune armed takeovers are dinner table discussions. The assumption/implication that the USA has never participated in any armed takeover of any sort is humourous. Such horror!

            Reply

          • Gak

            |

            Thanks for letting Betony’s reply through moderation Feldon.

            It’s one of those posts that says volumes more about the writer than the subject.

            Reply

  • Anaogi

    |

    I would totes of called it the “Far Seas Consortium”, but that’s just silly ol’ me.

    Here’s hoping for the best…

    Reply

  • Saev

    |

    Long term this is death.

    Reply

    • Murfalad

      |

      On a long enough time line it always is 🙂

      But seriously, I’m a bit worried on this, although industry wide I have not seen much serious development put into complex PC games. For that reason I think there is a big and very profitable niche out there that Daybreak or some other company can fill.
      SOE’s weakness has always been marketing their games outside of the US too, I don’t see anything here changing that, but hopefully whatever happens we’ll keep the games we do have.

      Reply

  • Hoot

    |

    People are in for a rude awakening if they think this is good news. I really am interested in why Sony got rid of SoE. I’m thinking because SoE wasn’t performing to their expectations. Though that’s all speculation at this point. All they really had to do was purge the higher ups. Get rid of Smedley, Smokejumper and the rest of their close friends up top that just roost as the ship slowly sinks.

    Reply

  • Archangel

    |

    A prior game company Nova’d:

    23 December 2010
    Viacom Sells ‘Rock Band’ Creator Harmonix
    “Harmonix, also the maker of Guitar Hero, was sold to New York investment firm Columbus Nova”

    8 February 2011
    “EDGE Magazine is reporting that pre-eminent music game studio Harmonix has released approximately 15% of their work-force due to the cost-cutting operations currently on-going at the independent-again developer”

    Traditional Investment Management Firms reap quick profits from layoffs and price increases.

    Columbus Nova:
    http://www.columbusnova.com/

    In a sort of tenuous related note:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/research/stocks/private/snapshot.asp?privcapId=106475241
    “Company Overview of Columbus Nova Private Equity Partners

    Columbus Nova Private Equity Partners is a private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, growth investments, and acquisitions. The firm does not invest in the telecom, technology, bio-tech, automotive, and airline industries. It primarily seeks to invest in the lower middle-market segment in the consumer products and services; education; entertainment/leisure; media”

    /*

    “Greed has taken the whole universe, and nobody is worried about their soul.”
    Little Richard

    Reply

    • Froak

      |

      there seems to be multiple offshoots of this columbus nova company, the one you link to is a private equity parters one. private equity is almost always bad news for a company.

      so far from what i have been able to see about the columbus nova technology parters branch (who now owns SOE) is that they have invested about 314 mil across 17 companies, and have only sold 2 of them. a lot of them are also tech related (data/database/network) companies that soe might be able to benefit from.

      Reply

      • Froak

        |

        sorry, they didn’t personally invest 314 mil, but were contributors to that amount along with other investors.

        Reply

      • Archangel

        |

        Yes, the link was to a sister company. Hence the “tenuous”. There are also notes on the level of a CN investment, from $10 to $100 million.

        It’s always enlightening to scout out the sister companies. Gives an aggregate view of “they” run things. Corporate relationships are like Ye Ole feudal Europe.

        Sony is still in damage control and legal straits from years of hacks, and (I’m guessing) SOE was a cost cutting litigation sacrifice. Remains to be seen whether SOE’s er DGC will have the budget to accomplish what Columbus Nova wants; quick return on investment.

        On the bright side, skip a beat, CN may force DGC to do the unthinkable, skip a beat, ADVERTISE.

        Good luck DGC.

        /*

        “How come Archangel’s “good luck” always sounds like “goodbye?””
        Dominic Santini

        Reply

        • Fievall

          |

          On the Russian version of their website they claim 2 billion.

          Reply

  • Oxymorphone

    |

    Love the website of said investment corp. Disclose nothing, privatly run. We all know how late it is.

    Reply

  • Charn

    |

    So who’s footing the bill if I decide to cancel my account with the Class Action suit?

    Reply

    • Feldon

      |

      You get 450SC.

      Reply

      • Charn

        |

        I only get 450 SC on my main account since it’s been active since the intrusion. I can decide to have my account cancelled if I have another account (I do) that has been inactive since then. They will give me cash equal to the balance of the SC I have in the account

        OPTION A – WALLET BALANCE PAYMENT: I certify that at least one of the above accounts was used from Jan. 1, 2011 through
        May 14, 2011, and that, because of the Intrusions, none of them was used after that through June 13, 2014. I would like to close
        all of the above accounts. If any associated wallet has a balance of paid virtual currency of $2 or more, I would like to receive a
        payment equal to that balance.

        Is that still coming from Sony or is that coming from Columbus Nova Technology Partners? Not that it matters to me, I’m just wondering if it’s coming at all or should I just gift items to myself from the other account?

        Reply

  • Griff

    |

    Well, I took a look at those links on CN and Renova. That’s some scary stuff right there! Rhapsody also took a 15% lay off after investments were made in their firm.

    Reply

  • Tomanator

    |

    Bye bye EQ2, I can’t see this ending good. I can’t see why this new company would keep investing funds in to a game that is not growing in subs.

    Luckily EQ will live long through emulators.

    I don’t know what to think of EQN, they might have a working Alpha this year, but I have been let down now for 3 years.

    Reply

  • Armageddoux

    |

    I agree with Noctew and some others one : Not a good news, especially for the european servers with special mention for the French one,
    After closing the europeans forums due to not enough traffic on the sites what do you think will happen to the game servers ?

    Reply

  • tada

    |

    Having worked in that industry, I can tell you to prepare yourself for even leaner times. You need to re-think hard if you believe that customer service both for us and the game itself. It’s going to get much much worse.

    Reply

    • faedhuildor

      |

      The reuters news story about the new owner solving business problems with AK47 totting thugs deserves its own headline story here. I expect that the customer service fairys will be replaced with club wielding trolls soon. 🙂

      Reply

Leave a comment

- Name (required)
- Website (optional)
Please post your comments without flaming or insulting other players or personally attacking SOE employees. Comments from bogus e-mail addresses may be deleted. If you wish to have an Avatar picture, feel free to create an account on Gravatar.com. Once you sign up for a Gravatar account, then any Wordpress-powered blog you comment on will automagically show your avatar.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Powered by Warp Theme Framework