Who had this on the end-of-the-year bingo card? Apparently, Daybreak has been bought out – again.
The company holding the hot potato this round is EG7 Global, which you’ll recall just recently made news for buying up Piranha Games, which runs Mechwarrior Online. According to the press release, the sale price for Daybreak was $300,000,000.
“On behalf of the Daybreak team and all of our players, we are elated to be joining the EG7 family,” Daybreak Executive Chairman Jason Epstein said in the press release. “The combined companies are strategically positioned to expand Daybreak’s unique and iconic portfolio of live games and will help amplify our passion for making great games for our awesome communities. I look forward to working closely with the team at EG7 to continue to deliver incredible experiences for our players around the world.”
MMORPG players don’t need to be reminded that Daybreak has been one hell of a ride the last few years. In 2015, Sony sold SOE off, at which point it rebranded as Daybreak as it brought along its stable of MMORPGs, including the EverQuest franchise, PlanetSide franchise, H1Z1 franchise, and DC Universe Online. The years since have seen the cancelation of the then-much-anticipated EverQuest Next and other games, sunsets of multiple other titles, several mass-layoffs, the closure of Player Studio, the departure of president John Smedley, a weird investment partnership with NantG, an esports financial scandal, and oh yeah, that whole thing where Daybreak accidentally admitted that Columbus Nova, which it had said since 2015 owned it, did not in fact own it, and then proceeded to scrub the internet of evidence – a bizarre tale that was easily our biggest story of the year in 2018.
Earlier this year, the company split its franchises up into sub-studios, which many gamers assumed heralded some sort of sale. The company also recently bought out Cold Iron Studios and its upcoming Alien title.
Incidentally, one of the annoyances plaguing Daybreak for the last few years is the fact that nobody would confirm whether or not Daybreak owned Standing Stone Games and its MMOs, Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons and Dragons Online, or was merely publishing those games. The EG7 presser confirms that it owns the games and IP licenses, as well as gives a head-count on its playerbase and a clear look at the corporate revenues. This is more transparency on Daybreak than MMO players have gotten in many years.
“Daybreak possesses globally recognized third party IPs combined with valuable original IPs. Third party IPs include DC, Lord of the Rings and Dungeons & Dragons. Original IPs include EverQuest, H1Z1 and PlanetSide. The company has expertise in free-to-play and games as a service business model. Daybreak has a total of approximately 178 million registered users, with potential to leverage for marketing and reactivation. During the 12-month period ending on 30 September 2020, Daybreak reached a net revenue and adjusted EBITDA of USD 77.6m and USD 29.0m, respectively. Significant product investments increased revenues in this period compared to previous years. The profitability was also increased during the period, driven by topline growth, owned first-party IPs, and cost reduction and justification during the global pandemic. […] The acquisition of Daybreak will further strengthen and add diversification to EG7’s IP portfolio through acquisition of best-in-class original and third-party IPs (EverQuest, The Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, DC Universe Online). Daybreak will also add a strong team of both operationally and strategically capable individuals. The Transaction will increase size and profitability of the Company through stable cash flows from free-to-play model with loyal communities for existing IPs. Furthermore, the Daybreak platform offers future upside through upcoming content releases for e.g. DC Universe Online and The Lord of the Rings Online, potential synergies across the group, and strengthened team to identify and execute further M&A.”