There has been a lot of talk surrounding Daybreak Games these past few days. Now more rumors are coming to light that Daybreak Games could be exploring the option of a potential acquisition. With a powerful portfolio of MMOs at stake, this could have big implications in the game industry, but also for MMOs as a genre.
A source close to Daybreak Games contacted me today after the news of layoffs broke this afternoon. The topic? That Daybreak is currently in talks about a possible acquisition path for the company with several suitors in the works. Of the names mentioned, one in particular stands out: Intrepid Studios. For those unfamiliar with Intrepid, they are working on Ashes of Creation. The studio is based in San Diego and seems a logical suitor for Daybreak based on that speculation alone.
Daybreak publishes a series of titles that have been near and dear to the MMO community for decades. As Sony Online Entertainment, the company launched Everquest, followed by many other titles. There are many currently active games, that would be included in the sale: Everquest, Everquest 2, Planetside 2, DC Universe, and H1Z1. All of these titles have had success of varying degrees. Daybreak also recently acquired the Turbine spin-off Standing Stone Games who continue to run veteran MMOs: Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online.
Intrepid Studios has been showing their MMO Ashes of Creation at recent events such as PAX West, GDC, and PAX East. The company has made a strong commitment to revitalizing the MMO genre. Founded in 2015 by entrepreneur and game fanatic Steven Sharif, is there a chance here for Intrepid to step in and revitalize all of these classic titles? It’s worth noting that the majority of Intrepid’s workforce are former SOE and Daybreak employees.
As we begin to put these puzzle pieces together, there seems to be some thought behind who would be the best partner for Daybreak in the future. Other major companies are also active in the area building a stable of online games. It was only last year that former SOE stalwart John Smedley’s Pixel Mage Games was closed after lacking crowdfunding, but He quickly became part of Amazon Game Studios. Pixel Mage was working on the in depth, but graphically retro Hero’s Song MMO. There is no word on what project John Smedley is making for Amazon Game Studios, and we wonder if Amazon is also in talks with Daybreak. The other companies mentioned by our source are not in the area of game development, so we’re hoping that someone with reverence for the genre and the industry scoops up the veritable treasure trove of IPs under Daybreak Games.
San Diego seems to be shaping up as an interesting area in the industry, that’s for sure. We’ve reached out to both Daybreak and Intrepid Studios for comment, and will update the story as we hear back.
UPDATE #1 From Intrepid's Steven Sharif:
It has long been my personal policy not to comment on rumors. Even if we were in talks with Daybreak for an acquisition, we would not be able to comment. Additionally, I saw the news of recent layoffs at Daybreak today and would like to extend my condolences to those affected. Daybreak (SOE) has an incredible history of creating some of the most cherished franchises that are near and dear to our hearts, and the people laid off today are some of the most talented developers in the industry. Intrepid Studios wishes them the best in their future ventures and I know they will go on to accomplish great things.