Sony Online Entertainment is under new ownership.
Sony’s changing business
Investment management firm Columbus Nova announced today that it closed a deal to acquire SOE from Sony. The massively multiplayer online game developer is responsible for releases like EverQuest, PlanetSide 2, and the recently released H1Z1. Those games are available on PC and some also went live on PlayStation consoles. Now, SOE plans to take those games multiplatform, so you could potentially see the studio’s zombie-survival game on Xbox platforms. As part of the sale, SOE is rebranding itself as Daybreak Game Company.
Sony and Columbus Nova did not disclose the specifics of the agreement.
We’ve asked Sony for a comment on this sale, and we’ll update this post with any new information.
This is the most recent closure, sale, or spinoff for Sony. In recent months, the company has dropped out of the computer business and scaled back its Sony Ericsson phone company. This came as a response to dropping earnings and net losses for the last several quarters. The company is trying to slim down to focus on smartphones, PlayStation, and a few other potentially profitable market sectors. Sony Online Entertainment did not fit into that future.
“[SOE] is a great addition to our existing portfolio of technology, media, and entertainment focused companies,” Columbus Nova senior partner Jason Epstein said. “We see tremendous opportunities for growth with the expansion of the company’s game portfolio through multiplatform offerings as well as an exciting portfolio of new quality games coming up, including the recently launched H1Z1 and the highly anticipated EverQuest Next to be released in the near future.”
SOE has seen a resurgence with the release of H1Z1. The online game has players working together to try to survive hordes of the undead. After debuting last month, the unfinished game that players can purchase through the Early Access portal on Steam, shot to the top of the sales charts.
“We are excited to join Columbus Nova’s impressive roster of companies,” Daybreak president John Smedley said. “They have a proven track record in similar and related industries and we are eager to move forward to see how we can push the boundaries of online gaming. We will continue to focus on delivering exceptional games to players around the world, as well as bringing our portfolio to new platforms, fully embracing the multiplatform world in which we all live.”
While SOE has continued to deliver interesting and successful games, Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter says that wasn’t enough for Sony to want to keep it around.
“SOE wasn’t a good strategic fit, particularly with games shifting increasingly mobile and increasingly to free-to-play,” Pachter told GamesBeat. “SOE didn’t really support Sony’s console sales that much, and its audience differed from the core console and Vita customer, so I think this sale makes sense.”