Remember when Sony Online Entertainment was purchased by Columbus Nova and rebranded Daybreak Game Company? No you don’t, because it never happened.

That’s the stunning news coming from Daybreak itself (via Massively OP), which claims that SOE/DBG was instead purchased directly by Jason Epstein, former senior managing partner of Columbus Nova and not Columbus Nova, the business entity, itself. This contradicts statements made both by John Smedley (“We are excited to join Columbus Nova’s impressive roster of companies”) and Epstein himself (“Sony Online Entertainment, newly rebranded as Daybreak, is a great addition to our existing portfolio of technology”) in the press release originally announcing the transaction (reproduced below). Epstein left Columbus Nova in December 2017, along with its CEO, Andrew Intrater.

So why the sudden reversal, after letting everyone think CN owned DBG for three years — a “distinction was never corrected in the past, so we are correcting that now,” according to Daybreak? It could have something to do with Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, owner of the Renova Group conglomerate and its subsidiary, Columbus Nova (and cousin of Intrater, its former CEO), being targeted by U.S. Treasury Department and having up to $2 billion of his assets frozen.

That made players of Daybreak games a smidge worried that their games could be negatively affected, or even shut down altogether and might have prompted Daybreak to make a statement to distance itself from Columbus Nova — though such efforts may only be a recent development. MassivelyOP notes:

MOP commenters have pointed out that a Wikipedia account called Daybreakpr was blocked earlier this month – right around the time the sanctions were announced – for editing the Daybreak wikipedia entry to reiterate the claim that Epstein, not CN, has always owned the company.

According to Wikipedia, Epstein also owns Guitar Hero maker Harmonix, though articles announcing the sale (like this one and this one) only mention Columbus Nova and not Epstein personally.

It’s a pretty big PR mess, and one that even has ties to Donald Trump and his connection to Vekselberg and Intrater. We’ve reached out to Daybreak to see if there’s anything else we can learn about exactly what, if any, relationship there is or ever was between Daybreak and Columbus Nova.



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