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Sony Sells Off Sony Online Entertainment, Multi-Platform Games Coming

by Mike Futter on Feb 02, 2015 at 06:10 AM

Sony Online Entertainment, the publisher behind DC Universe Online, Planetside 2, and Everquest Next is under new ownership. The company was spun-off and acquired by Columbus Nova, an investment firm in New York.

With the change in ownership comes a new name, Daybreak Game Company LLC. Company president John Smedley remains at the helm, and has shared enthusiasm for the publisher’s new multiplatform approach.

“I can’t wait to make Xbox One games,” he shared via Twitter. In a prepared statement, he says that the company’s existing portfolio will make its way to other platforms. 

Columbus Nova’s investments include a number of technology companies, including the Rhapsody subscription music service and analytics and data companies. According to data on the company, Daybreak is its first pure gaming acquisition.

Sony has been struggling financially for some time. The company has found success in gaming with the PlayStation 4, but big losses in its computer hardware and mobile divisions have led to losses of more than $1.25 billion in the last completed fiscal year.

The company has put off reporting its quarterly earnings in the wake of the recent Sony Pictures hack. The impact of this spin-off should be made clear once those are released. No purchase price has yet been disclosed, and we’ve reached out to Daybreak for more information.

Update #1: Daybreak tells us that the terms of the deal are confidential. However, we'll be digging into Sony's financials to see if we can determine the relative impact to the company's finances.

Update #2: While Columbus Nova doesn't appear to have any current investments in gaming, senior partner Jason Epstein is no stranger to the industry. He personally brokered Viacom's sale of Harmonix, making the Rock Band developer independent once more. According to a Bloomberg report from 2011, Epstein raised part of the funding from company founders Eran Egozy and Alex Rigopulos.

Egozy continues to serve as chief technology officer and vice president of engineering at Harmonix. Rigopulos stepped down as CEO last year and currently holds the chief creative officer position.  

Our Take
This is likely a move made out of financial necessity for Sony. The good news for gamers is that SOE (now Daybreak’s) titles are going to be available to a wider audience. It will be extremely interesting to see how this impacts Sony’s finances.