Daybreak Game Company has been purchased by Swedish publisher Enad Global 7 AB, the same company that acquired MechWarrior Online developer Piranha Games last week. The deal is for $300 million and sees EG7 acquire 100% ownership of Daybreak and its studios, which include Rogue Planet Games (PlanetSide 2), Dimensional Ink (DC Universe Online), and Darkpaw Games (EverQuest and EverQuest II). The announcement of the sale also mentions an office in Needham, MA, likely Standing Stone Games (The Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online), which might indicate that the relationship between Daybreak and SSG is more than a simple publishing agreement.
Daybreak’s primary owner, Jason Epstein, will hold 10% and other owners of Daybreak will hold about 3% of the outstanding shares of the company and votes in EG7. Epstein’s purported ownership of Daybreak is a contentious topic, given the company’s assertion that he owned the company in 2018, after previously claiming to be purchased by Columbus Nova in 2015. Although the press release announcing the news mentions Epstein by name, GamesIndustry.biz said that “When asked who EG7 acquired Daybreak from, the representative only said the studio was privately owned.”
As we stated after the Piranha Games purchase, EG7 calls itself “a group of companies within the gaming industry that develops, markets, publishes and distributes PC, console and mobile games to the global gaming market,” with a diverse range of clients and properties under its banner. Daybreak and its titles certainly comprise its highest-profile acquisition to date, at least to PC and console gamers. The transaction is expected to close by Dec. 31.
As for what this means for the future of Daybreak’s titles, I’d say roughly the same thing when the studio was acquired by someone (see above) in 2015 — the net result probably won’t be any different than if it had stayed with its previous ownership. If there’s any good news to be gleamed, it might be that H1Z1 was mentioned as one of Daybreak’s original IPs. While that might just be a basic statement, the game has languished for years, not receiving its own studio like Daybreak’s other major titles, so it’s possible that the move could revitalize the battle royale game, or even lead to a revival of its open-world survival version, which has been promised before.
And maybe, just maybe, if EG7 really wants to commit to Daybreak going forward, we could actually have a proper successor to the EverQuest franchise at some point in the next decade. At the very least, anything they try couldn’t go any more poorly than the last attempts.
UPDATE: Six hours after EG7’s announcement, Daybreak’s three core constituent companies — Dimensional Ink, Darkpaw Games, and Rogue Planet Games — have each posted a message on their sites or forums about the acquisition, as has Standing Stone Games on the LotRO and DDO forums. The messaging is standard for this kind of news: lots of “nothing will change” and “it’s a great opportunity” kind of talk, but you at least have to give credit to the three main sub-divisions for crafting their own responses rather than copy-pasting a stock message from corporate.