Q2 2021: What the heck is going on at EG7 and Daybreak and who the heck owns Cold Iron

Plus, who owns Cold Iron and Aliens now?

    
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Last week, we covered the puzzling news that EG7’s CEO Robin Flodin has been (at least temporarily?) replaced by Daybreak’s Ji Ham, a move that concerned gamers who’d seen Flodin’s candor since EG7 bought Daybreak last year as a huge boon for Daybreak and its MMOs.

Ji Ham, of course, first surfaced in our reporting back in 2016, when the then-Columbus Nova executive and apparent co-president of Daybreak took over in the wake of the departures of Russell Shanks and John Smedley’s abrupt departure. We hopefully don’t need to remind you how that whole Columbus Nova situation turned out, but even if you ignore that fiasco, Ham was basically running the show for the last few years before EG7 bought it, and we think that the game cancellations and sunsets, multiple rounds of layoffs, esports scandals, and loss of high-profile devs during his reign speak for themselves.

The Swedish press have apparently been all over the CEO ousting story; MOP reader Justin Hartman alerted us to a Swedish piece on BreakIt that argues Flodin was removed as CEO following a poorly received 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 investors, which led to a significant dip in EG7’s stock value as presumably investors lost faith in what they were being told.

Flodin is smiling happily in photographs used in the Q2 investor presentation itself; the presentation claims the “highest revenue and profit in the history of the company” and net revenue growth of “160%” compared to Q2 of last year.

One last curious note here: The Ancient Gaming Noob’s Wilhelm pointed out to us that the newly launched Aliens Fireteam Elite is marked on Steam as being published by Home Focus Interactive, a French company that appears to do largely European publishing. The decision to have Home Focus publish the game in Europe was apparently announced back in June. How is this relevant? Well, Daybreak announced it had purchased Cold Iron Studios back in August of 2020, but then Daybreak itself was acquired by EG7 in December, and as we noted at the time, neither Cold Iron nor Aliens was mentioned by EG7 in its massive investor report. (It’s not mentioned this quarter either.) Although Cold Iron’s Craig Zinkievich did refer to the sale in an interview as late as March of this year, it’s not entirely clear whether the sale was scuttled or Daybreak/EG7’s names and social media prestige were simply scrubbed from the launch in favor of Cold Iron and Home Focus – and as Wilhelm noted, Daybreak deleted its original announcement press release, a trick the studio is apparently becoming quite fond of.

Source: EG7, TAGN
Update
Connor over at MMO Fallout noticed that Cold Iron’s logo is no longer attached to Daybreak’s entry in the trademark database, and it appears the current owner – since August 4th – of the company’s trademark is Cold Iron Studios, LLC, not Daybreak anymore. Since the Home Focus press release is from June and the interview referencing the Daybreak sale was from March, we’re guessing Daybreak sold or dropped the buyout of Cold Iron somewhere in that zone.
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Ardra Diva

it’s like a nightmare that won’t end. First they killed EverQuest, my first MMO love. Then they seemingly acquired LOTRO, my true MMO love. Just waiting for them to buy GW2 and take my 2nd option away from me.

Why EQ is allowed to be a relic from history astonishes me. You’d think the EverQuest name and franchise was pretty valuable, too much so to just stay on the shelf, but maybe I am mistaken.

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Shibby523

Daybreak is the new Portalarium (actions wise). Someone has to take up the mantle I guess.

Overall, the whole Daybreak shenanigans is sad. Such a great portfolio of IPs that will most likely never have the chance to shine again.

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Bruno Brito

“New”. They’ve been doing this shit for a while now, and they’re worse than Portalarium. At least Port has a half-assed half-game. DBG has actual games and watches them burning with glee.

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Neurotic

*Focus Home Interactive

Solid publishers, been around over here for years and years. Many a beloved title of theirs sits on my shelf, including the Cities XL games, one or two Trackmanias, and a complete set of F.E.A.R. If we’re saying Aliens Fireteam is with FHI, then I can assure you we should all be immensely comforted and pleased by this news! :)

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angrakhan

Well, that might explain why some things in Aliens Fireteam Elite are oddly incomplete. Gameplay and progression is all solid, but the story content is surprisingly short. There’s a lot of backstory delivered via conversation with NPCs but their faces aren’t animated to go with the VO. From the VO you get the impression there’s supposed to be a drop ship cutscene when you start a mission, bit instead you just get the VO and a loading screen. Finally, there’s no cutscenes at the end of chapters in the story. Even the last chapter with the big climax to the game’s current story arc has no cutscene to go with it even though it practically demands it (won’t spoil why).

It all feels like the devs still had a few months more to go on the title, but they were brought into a room and told to wrap the game up as much as possible in its current state and ship it.

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Sarah Cushaway

I really just want Daybreak to go under and for the EQ franchise to be sold to a company that actually plans on doing something with it rather than just releasing time-locked servers over and over and over.

Mark
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Mark

Nervous for my Lotro again.

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Bruno Brito

Btw, this shitfest is a good example of everything i find wrong with corporate culture.

You build nothing. You sell nothing. Your product is meaningless. You make “smart business decisions” that will net you more money, which in turn is used to make even more money. Your money has absolutely no usefulness in the real world. Your workers won’t see a increase in paycheck. Your teams won’t be injected with new talent. Your studios won’t get the cutting edge. This absolute joke of a CEO won’t magically improve DBG’s quality, he didn’t do it for years. It’ll just funnel into the hands of a miserable few fucks who have absolutely no use for it, because they’re already richer than god. What, a new yatch? Who gives a shit. You got 16. Who the fuck does this money existence’s help? Is this what they call “improving the economy?” This money doesn’t circulate outside these small pockets. It’s literally meaningless. It’ll stagnate and just be there because it’s there.

Who cares about decorum. Who cares about legacy. Who cares about history. Who cares about having a product you’re actually proud of selling. It’s all about getting the most cash with the least ammount of investiment.

Imagine being so fucking bankrupt, morally and psychologically, to think this is success. That this is leadership. That it’s good business acumen and not just paid scorched earth.

To hell with DBG and Epstein and Ji. I’ve spat blood on the faces of better people.

Aldristavan
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Aldristavan

I never get tired of hearing about SOE / Daybreak / EG7 / Russia (?) drama. Never. Absolute clown show.

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LMN118

Had I known Cold Iron was ex-Cryptic and owned by Daybreak I would never have bought Aliens. Cold Iron has been sold four times already that I know off if Daybreak has sold them as well…

Not to mention they’ve been active since 2015 and yet Aliens is the only title they’ve made.

Purchased Aliens on Saturday and have yet to be successfully join a game with other players.

M$ are refusing to refund despite the game being broken, the devs knowing this at release and the breach of the Consumer Rights Act.

When a game is broken, or even if it is not free from any defects, customers are entitled to a refund in the EU and UK.

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Bruno Brito

This is what’s left of Everquest’s legacy.

God, i hate these people.