Daybreak announces new investment, new H1Z1 and EverQuest mobile titles, and a new esports arena

    
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Today does seem to be the day for big financial bombshells, doesn’t it? Turns out Daybreak had a card up its sleeve too. The MMORPG company announced today that a holding company, NantWorks, has invested in Daybreak and created a new subcompany to build out H1Z1 and EverQuest for mobile.

“NantWorks, a diversified holding company, today announced that it has made a strategic investment in Daybreak Game Company, a leading developer and publisher of multiplayer online games. In connection with the investment, NantWorks has obtained a controlling interest in a new joint venture with Daybreak, NantG Mobile, LLC, which has been formed to develop and publish mobile versions of Daybreak’s current games – H1Z1 and EverQuest – and to build and publish video games across all platforms. In addition, the JV will now assume control and management of the current PC H1Z1 Battle Royale game. Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, CEO and Chairman of NantWorks and Owner and Executive Chairman of the Los Angeles Times, will join Daybreak’s board of directors.”

Daybreak also still runs EverQuest II, PlanetSide 2, and DC Universe Online. They were not mentioned as part of this development, though the PR lists them – and Standing Stone’s LOTRO and DDO – as part of its portfolio. Other games, including PlanetSide 2 and EverQuest 3, have long been rumored but again are not expressly named.

The studio-formely-known-as-SOE kicked up a duststorm earlier this year when it abruptly began denying that it had ever been purchased by Columbus Nova, the Russia-linked company that it previously said acquired it from Sony in 2015. (It currently maintains it is owned by Jason Epstein.) It then suffered a serious round of layoffs. This summer, it was apparently bolstered by the strong performance of H1Z1 on console, but it nevertheless announced a sunset for Just Survive and brought on Jace Hall to rescue H1Z1’s floundering PC version.

Indeed, it seems likely that Hall helped put this deal together; H1Z1 players had speculated that his well-publicized move to Daybreak – and comments about being under an NDA that apparently ends soon – was happening in conjunction with a financial arrangement of some sort. This seems likely to be it, particularly given that the press release also mentions the studios will be working on a “next generation mobile game engine” and that NantWorks is constructing a large esports arena and studio dubbed the LA Times Center next door to the LA Times headquarters. Oh yeah, and H1Z1 on PC is getting what looks like a(nother) new name and facelift.

“The LA Times Center will serve as a convening hub for the community and a venue where NantG Mobile will establish e-sports leagues for multiple game titles, starting with Z1 Battle Royale, a revitalized PC-based version of H1Z1: Battle Royale.”

Source: Daybreak, with thanks to @EQ2Wire’s Morgan Feldon for pointing it out to us!
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Joe Seabreeze

Bad investment.

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Nick Martin

Got to invest in something, I guess… not like they’re putting that money into their current games.

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Hravik

Two new games to start development with all the hype, languish in development hell, go radio silent and then get cancelled?! Oh boy! How did they know that’s just what we all wanted?

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Bruno Brito

Mobile games, joint venture with a asian billionaire after russian connections…

Man, the least interesting part of Theybreak is their games. How the hell did the Everquest franchise got to this point?

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Bango on Laurelin

If I were an SSG employee I would be getting concerned.

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Viktor Budusov

Why?

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Bango on Laurelin

Simple really – a new owner brings with it new investment priorities as demonstrated by the mobile EQ and new H1Z1 battle royal game. As we all know, Daybreak is the effective owner of SSG and so new the owners will be looking at the performance of that investment to determine whether it fits in with their overall plans for the company. As lotro and DDO are old games with little new customer growth, Nantworks might just decide to sell their stake.

Of course with me being a lifetime account holder, the last thing I want to see is SSG’s future become unstable, but I’m also realistic enough to know what happens when new management takes over.

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kody

There’s no stake to sell. If the games aren’t making money, Daybreak will simply stop publishing them once the current agreement is up.

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Sally Bowls

I don’t think we quite know that. Someone owns SSG; they said it was not an employee buyout. Nobody has said it was DBG; but nobody has denied it so there has been considerable speculation DBG has ownership as well as a publishing interest.

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Kayweg

DBG two years from now: “NantWorks who ?”

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David Harrison

LOL I was thinking the same thing. They will be like, “there was no such transaction with NantWorks. It was a typo.”

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flamethekid .

has Daybreak even made anything new in the past few years?

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rafael12104

So, first, I don’t trust Daybreak. Their shenanigans over the past couple of years leave me suspicious of anything they say they are going to do.

BUT, this isn’t that surprising either. The only thing generating money, of any significance is H1Z1. So… squeezing every bit they can out of it is understandable. I’m still in shock it is such a huge success on PS4.

And yet… I can’t help but believe that the pairing of Russian oligarchs and Asian billionaire venture capitalist through DBG is nothing more than a money laundering operation.

Paul Manifort would be proud.

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François Verret

Wow. They even bought ads on the site. Money being invested in the EQ franchise!

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MrNastyButler

Russians…mobile games…hmm….there’s got to be a Trump joke in there somewhere but I’m too tried to dig it out.

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Armsbend

I really need Russians knowing where I’m at all day. Tin Foil hat or not, there is no Daybreak game on Earth worth any risk at all.

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Viktor Budusov

Yeah, TV said Russians are evil. Very evil!

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Bruno Brito

Calm down, komrade.

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Viktor Budusov

But how? Russians are everywhere, hack everything, spoil democracy and so on. Planet, no, Galaxy, no, Universe at danger!

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Bruno Brito

Only if you don’t accept the wonders of Kommunism.