Last week, Sony Online Entertainment turned into Daybreak as its parent company sold it to equity firm Columbus Nova. This week, Daybreak has begun laying off staff.
The publisher, which is responsible for a number of massively multiplayer online games including H1Z1 and EverQuest, has confirmed that it is cutting a number of positions at a handful of its studios. Daybreak did not specify how many people are affected by this round of layoffs, but high-profile employees — including EverQuest director David Georgeson and community manager Linda Carlson — have publicly revealed they have lost their jobs.
Yeah, I'm sorry folks but it's true. LM, eqn, eq and eqii are no longer guided by moi. Other dreamers will steer now.
— David Georgeson (@DaveGeorgeson) February 11, 2015
Under Columbus Nova, it isn’t shocking that Daybreak is cutting staff. One of the first steps for investment firms like this is to cut costs to maximize profits. That often means trying to make the same or more revenues while paying fewer employees. The firm did the exact same thing when it acquired music-streaming service Rhapsody in 2013.
While Daybreak is letting people go, it is simultaneously claiming that this will have no affect on the company’s games. It provided GamesBeat with the following statement about the job cuts:
“As part of a strategic decision to rationalize the business, Daybreak Game Company announced today that it will eliminate positions in both its San Diego and Austin studios. This alignment of resources better positions the newly independent studio for future growth opportunities and developments, including delivering on its legacy of making top online games and establishing a solid foundation for future multi-platform success. These reductions will not affect the operation of current games and the company will continue on its mission to partner with its player community to drive the future and push the boundaries of online gaming.”
The publisher still has a number of games in active operations as well as production. It is developing H1Z1, which is a zombie-survival release that it is selling through Steam’s Early Access portal. The company also has a studio working on EverQuest Next, the followup to EverQuest and EverQuest II, as well as a creation tool called EverQuest Landmark that enables players to build content that will populate the world of Next.
Sony sold Daybreak last week as a way of cutting some of the fat from its books. The MMO publisher has a record of producing hits and even making money, but Sony is in a restructuring phase and focusing on its most successful and lucrative businesses. That means sticking with the PlayStation 4 while simultaneously getting rid of its Vaio PC division.