You may recall that in June 2018, Daybreak and parent company Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) announced that they’d be parting ways, with Daybreak CEO John Smedley and SIE President and Chief Executive Officer John Kodera announcing the split themselves. Now, we’re less than a year away from their next big event, and it seems that the final legal battle over who owns what has been resolved.
It is hard to say what will happen with the company. The most recent rumors point to a potential sale, shuttering of the company, or possibly even splitting off Daybreak Games into its own separate entity. Two of the most recent reports seem to indicate that the company is trying to fold up its operations, or at least merge with another company that has better prospects, hopefully preserving all of the employees.
Daybreak Game Company, or Daybreak for short, was an internet game studio founded in 2003 by Brian Fargo. The company is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. The company is best known for being the publisher of the EverQuest series, the Planetside series, H1Z1, and the H1Z1: King of the Kill game modes. Daybreak also created the game modes of PlanetSide (PC) and PlanetSide 2 (PC).
Last week, we reported on the strange news that EG7’s CEO Robin Flodin had been replaced (at least temporarily?) by Daybreak’s Ji Ham, a move that alarmed players who saw Flodin’s openness since EG7 acquired Daybreak last year as a major benefit for Daybreak and its MMOs.
Ji Ham was first mentioned in our research in 2016, when he was a then-Columbus Nova executive and putative co-president of Daybreak after the exits of Russell Shanks and John Smedley. Even if you disregard the Columbus Nova debacle, Ham was essentially running the show for the past several years until EG7 acquired it, and we believe the game cancellations and sunsets, numerous rounds of layoffs, esports scandals, and loss of high-profile developers throughout his reign speak for themselves.
MOP reader Justin Hartman alerted us to a Swedish piece on BreakIt that claims Flodin was fired as CEO as a result of a poor financial report and a disastrous interview on Dagens Industri, during which he failed to adequately answer questions about capitalized development costs for new games that the company reported to the Swedish government.
In photos included in the Q2 investor presentation, Flodin seems to be smiling gleefully; the presentation boasts the “highest revenue and profit in the history of the company” and net revenue increase of “160 percent” when compared to the same quarter last year.
Last but not least, Wilhelm of The Ancient Gaming Noob pointed out that the recently released Aliens Fireteam Elite is listed on Steam as being published by Home Focus Interactive, a French business that seems to primarily publish in Europe. Home Focus’ intention to publish the game in Europe was reportedly revealed in June. What is the significance of this? Daybreak announced the acquisition of Cold Iron Studios in August of 2020, but Daybreak was bought by EG7 in December, and neither Cold Iron nor Aliens were mentioned in EG7’s huge investor report, as we observed at the time. (It’s also not addressed this quarter.) Although Cold Iron’s Craig Zinkievich mentioned the sale in a March interview, it’s unclear whether the deal was scrapped or Daybreak/names EG7’s and social media clout were simply scrubbed from the launch in favor of Cold Iron and Home Focus – and, as Wilhelm pointed out, Daybreak deleted its original announcement press release, a trick the studio is apparently using.
I recently got the chance to sit down with this guy this guy, the CEO of Daybreak Games. He’s a cool dude who has a passion for gaming, and I wanted to get to know him a little better. Turns out, he’s quite the interesting guy, and I got to hear all about his views on the future of Daybreak, the future of the MMORPG genre, and more. He also has a background in journalism, so his passion for being able to communicate with people in an authentic way is clear.. Read more about daybreak games and let us know what you think.
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