Everquest, H1Z1 Dev Sony Online Entertainment Sold Off, Rebranded

Everquest, H1Z1 Dev Sony Online Entertainment Sold Off, Rebranded

Everquest Next

Investment firm buys Everquest developer, takes SOE independent.

Sony today sold its San Diego-based online game publisher, Sony Online Entertainment, to investment firm Columbus Nova.

While the sale takes SOE outside of the Sony umbrella, the studio is not being stripped down or sold off in pieces. Instead, Columbus Nova will be keeping SOE independent, and renaming the Everquest studio Daybreak Game Company. The separation also means that the studio will be making games for the Xbox One and mobile, along with the PS4 and PC.

SOE just launched H1Z1, its zombie apocalypse survival MMO, and Planetside 2 has been a steady MMOFPS presence on the PC since the game's release in 2012 (with a PS4 version on the way. Everquest Next and Everquest Landmark, the follow-up to the massively successful Everquest and Everquest 2, is currently in development.

Columbus Nova is "a multi-strategy investment firm managing over $15 billion of assets through its own funds and affiliated portfolio companies." The SOE/Daybreak acquisition appears to be a part of the Columbus Nova Technology Partners group under the CN umbrella -- a group that also controls music streaming service Rhapsody.

"Sony Online Entertainment, newly rebranded as Daybreak, is a great addition to our existing portfolio of technology, media and entertainment focused companies," said Columbus Nova senior partner Jason Epstein. "We see tremendous opportunities for growth with the expansion of the company's game portfolio...including the recently launched H1Z1 and the highly anticipated EverQuest Next to be released in the near future."

The same "stay the course" plan for SOE was elaborated upon on the Sony forums as well. "It will be business as usual and all SOE games will continue on their current path of development and operation." The post goes on to say that "even more resources" are going to be available to the new Daybreak team, which is good news for Everquest fans moving forward.

Based on the above comments, it doesn't sound like any project cancellations or delays are coming up in the near future. We've reached out to SOE/Daybreak for comment and clarification, nonetheless.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Source: SOE PR, SOE Forums

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Yeah, you know, investment companies care about very few things.
Actually, they usually care about just one thing, profit. By any means possible.

So expect a lot of micro-transactions and other short term profit makers.
Heck, expect cheap mobile games to came out of SOE/Daybreak.

I wonder if this will negatively affect Planetside 2 with even more pay-to-win implants.

Well, RIP already pretty dead corpse of once promising but even after playing the tech alpha very disspointing compared to the first game Planetside 2. Well, probably not ACTUALLY dead, but really might as well be.

No word on how much SOE was sold for? That's something that's also normally announced in these sorts of articles. Must still be hush-hush for now until they're ready to release more info.

I wonder if this was the reason for all those games (Vangard, Star Wars, etc) being shut down a few months back. They must have wanted to get rid of the smaller, less-profitable games in order for the SOE package to be a cleaner, sweeter deal.

The problem I have with any investment firm taking over any development studio is money is always their primary objective. It is what happened with BioWare and Pandemic, they merged with the help of a investment firm and then were sold to EA because EA offered a very large bag of money.

So it might work for a couple of years, but when dollar signs appear I fully expect the firm to jump at them at the cost of the games themselves.

From the info that is circling around the Ps2 forums, this is the first time that that investment firm will be "working" with the gaming world. Well..

While it is unfair to judge it without giving them a chance to prove themselfs.. History (at least the one I known) shows that nothing good (for the players) will come out of this. At any rate, time will tell.

I was about to say this could be potentially interesting, since Sony was infamous for making really poor business choices with SOE, like shutting down Star Wars Galaxies despite it's player base's loyalty. However, from the comments so far, it sounds like this change isn't going to be for the better. Most people seem to be saying an investment firm will take a company and do whatever it takes to wring money out of it, quality of products and service be damned. That kind of atitude definitely doesn't sound very hopeful.

SOE has been mud to me ever since Star Wars Galaxies suffered NGE and CU. Not I just have to be on the look out for Daybreak.

Well first EA Got rid of Ultima online and Dark Age of Camelot selling them to Broadsword online and now Sony is getting rid of their MMO's. It does seem as if many of the bigger gaming companies have started getting rid of there MMORPG's lately.

Ukomba:
SOE has been mud to me ever since Star Wars Galaxies suffered NGE and CU. Not I just have to be on the look out for Daybreak.

Yea, I haven't played an SoE game since the CU came out. I don't care what happens to SoE, I'm just sitting here hoping they fire Smedley's dumb ass.

Well this cant be any worse than a company like Pay-to-Win Perfect World Entertainment getting a hold of them.

And all i can find on theese Coloumbus Nova folks is that they plan for long term profits, so they probably wont turn all former SOE games into skinner boxes.

Devin Connors:
Planetside 2 has been a steady MMOFPS presence on the PC since the game's release in 2012...

Sorry, but i must point out that you mispelled "declining".

So... These are the guys I need to send a letter to in hopes of them trying to bring MTG:Tactix back, and fix it while they're at it?

But, overall, it can't really get much worse, SOE is the one company I practically have blacklisted at this point.

Does anyone know if Smedley is sticking with SOE or not? That is the real question if you ask me.

Lillowh:
Well, RIP already pretty dead corpse of once promising but even after playing the tech alpha very disspointing compared to the first game Planetside 2. Well, probably not ACTUALLY dead, but really might as well be.

Yeah you could tell something went VERY wrong while making PS2 and it never got fixed. What made me abandon all hope for PS2 was that contest they had between the three factions a little after launch that pretty much showed they had no idea what the hell they were doing.

Each faction got someone to represent them as a "leader" during the event Terran got TB who was a famous youtuber and who genuinely seemed to love the game, I forget who the Vanu got since I guess it got changed a few times but they also seemed to get someone who liked the game and understood it.

As a NC player we got Seananners, someone who never played the game, who didn't appear to care about the game, and whose only qualifaction was that he had a popular youtube channel. SOE basically took a giant bag of money and threw it at the most popular person they could find who understood nothing about the game or what it meant meaning we got "lead" to a crushing last place defeat by someone overpaid to pretend to care about the game.

I played for a little while after that but really PS2 just seems like a massive joke now.

Probably a pipe dream, but I kind of wish someone would bring back Infantry. That game was the shit before it got Sony'd and went sub. And then got Sony'd again by being cancelled.

If anyone can mismanage good products worse than SOE, Ill be surprised. If Smedley never has anything to do with gaming again Ill be happy.

Meh, I'm a bit surprised they sold it off, but it probably won't mean much so far as the games were concerned. I'm just curious as to why they sold it off. Planetside 2 was a money maker. H1Z1 probably would have eventually been lucrative. Everyone seems to think this will change things. That the new group is even more profit hungry than Sony, but they are equally profit hungry.

If they sold off all of SOE... I wonder what will happen to the station credits I have... *goes looking*

Well according to one of the Community Managers "Nothing will happen to your account balance, though we'll be rebranding it soon."

SOE Forums

Although I'd question how much they actually are 'in the know' at the moment.

You know, I thought that when EQN finally released, it might be like going home, since EQ1 was my first MMO where I made a significant online presence - as it was for many, I could imagine. *sigh* You really can never go home again.

Man SOE what a roller coaster ride with that company. Lots of great moments and other palm face why oh why moments. Leadership with huge egos, big hit miss moments with their games. It felt like when they did manage to get a hit it was either self sabotaged or monetized to death.

I fully agree with the comments that holding companies see one item, making money. Max profits in any and all things at the cost of the company and the products it produces.

Hmm, I will keep my fingers crossed that EQ Next makes it out the door as there are some neat ideas, like actually advancing AI scripting, adaptive environments, subterranean levels, npc migrant behavior such as orc hordes etc.

I hope they manage to release it as I would like to see how it all turns out. Bleh as they say, time will tell.

Baresark:
Meh, I'm a bit surprised they sold it off, but it probably won't mean much so far as the games were concerned. I'm just curious as to why they sold it off. Planetside 2 was a money maker. H1Z1 probably would have eventually been lucrative. Everyone seems to think this will change things. That the new group is even more profit hungry than Sony, but they are equally profit hungry.

If they're equally profit hungry, that's still very bad.

Because the buyer's #1 priority is recouping that cost as quickly as possible to get back into "normalized" profit returns.
It becomes a very pushy business; one that ALWAYS cuts into the game quality and player-value.

(EA in particular has built a nasty reputation for doing this, but I've seen it done many other times across the industry)

Where have you been? Mars...

Infantry has been running for years over at http://www.freeinfantry.org

Razorback0z:
If anyone can mismanage good products worse than SOE, Ill be surprised. If Smedley never has anything to do with gaming again Ill be happy.

 

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