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.”
Daybreak forming a joint venture with billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong and giving he and it lots of control over the company. As an outside observer, this seems like a desperate cash infusion situation. https://t.co/F2tAG9BvIe
— EQ2Wire (@EQ2Wire) September 6, 2018