Sony has sold Sony Online Entertainment, the studio and publisher that created EverQuest (and, to a large extent, the modern MMO genre), in a deal that will see it owned by investment management firm Columbus Nova and rebranded as Daybreak. The studio originally began as an in-house product at Sony Interactive Studios America back in 1995, when John Smedley, Brad McQuaid and Steve Clover began the project that would become early category-defining massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) EverQuest.
SOE is currently home to EverQuest, PlanetSide 2, DC Universe Online and H1Z1, and previously played host to Star Wars Galaxies, The Matrix Online and others. It received an Emmy in 1998 for EverQuest, and its role in the development of the MMORPG genre. Sony Online Entertainment did see significant layoffs in both its San Diego and Austin studios last year, however, and was the target of an attack that resulted in 24.6 million customer accounts being compromised back in 2011.
The new owners plan to continue to offer and expand on SOE’s existing lineup, and said in a statement that they intend to release EverQuest Next in the “near future” as was the plan under the company’s previous owners. Daybreak, as the studio is now called, will also become a multi-platform gaming company, with plans to build games for PlayStation, Xbox and mobile according to the team. Daybreak also expects to have access to more resources for future projects than it did under Sony ownership, according to a statement from the company.
It sounds like the team has every intention to continue to support its successful titles, but it’s also unlikely a change in name will be the only result of the transition players of Daybreak MMOs can expect, so stay tuned if you’re currently investing your time in of their virtual worlds.