Quote of the Day – Skepticism Blooms

“Sony Online Entertainment, newly rebranded as Daybreak, is a great addition to our existing portfolio of technology, media and entertainment focused companies. We see tremendous opportunities for growth with the expansion of the company’s game portfolio through multi-platform 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,”

Jason Epstein, a senior partner at Columbus Nova

EverQuest Next is to be released in the “near future?”

[Emphasis in the quote was mine]

Okay, now I know they are yanking my chain.

Has Jason Epstein already been briefed on the usage of the word “soon” at old SOE?  Is this an attempt to avoid that word and its baggage or the beginning of a new empty phrase for the house that EverQuest built?

"Soon" Defined

“Soon” Defined

I ask because I cannot see EverQuest Next being released during any period of time I would judge to be the “near future,” unless we start measuring against scales of time beyond the span of my life.  The foundation for EverQuest Next is in Landmark, and that has yet to be released or have a release date or even a date when they might be able to announce a release date.  So consider my eyebrow arched significantly at the idea of the “near future” in conjunction with EverQuest Next. (Also, Jason, a new name for that please?)

Of course, Mr. Epstein might not know any better at this point.  There has been a whole acquisition dance going on for a while now.  These things do not happen over night, they are months in the making.  And I am sure a bunch of people at the company formerly known as SOE are realizing that this was why Smed was gone at some point or why a bunch of strangers were camped in one of the conference rooms for a week or why that “interview candidate” who looked like a lawyer was being given a detailed tour of the build system. (That last one actually happened to me at one company.)

And while nobody is suppose to overtly lie about material facts during that dance, like any mating ritual, things do tend to be presented in the optimum setting.  The lights are dimmed, blemishes are glossed over, makeup is applied, guts are sucked in, promises are whispered in a moment of passion, all to make each partner more alluring.

Now though, we are at the morning after.  The harsh light of Daybreak is shining through the window, lipstick is smeared, promises are forgotten, and somebody clearly can only describe their belt buckle from memory once it is wrapped about what could be their waist, but only because that is where their pants end.

All pretense is at an end and all the bullshit is revealed.  It is time to get to work and actually deal with reality.  It might be only at this point that the actual idea of “near future” is being revealed and that all those nifty demos of the game do not make a whole.

Then again, there might be a simple answer to this nested in the very same sentence.  Mr. Epstein refers to H1Z1 as “recently launched.”  Perhaps his view of the world aligns with some of us on the outside of the company, that once you start taking money in exchange for your game it is effectively launched and all of this “early access” and “beta” talk is just posturing bullshit.

Anyway, we shall see just how “near” the “near future” really is and what being released really means to this newly “independent” Daybreak.

Also, can we just go with “DGC” when referring to Daybreak Game Company?  Writing “Daybreak” just feels odd still.

16 thoughts on “Quote of the Day – Skepticism Blooms

  1. HarbingerZero

    My limited experience with investment buyouts has been as negative as yours. Based on that limited experience I would say Mr. Epstein is demonstrating that rare corporate ability to lie through your teeth and talk out of your ass at the same time.


  2. C. T. Murphy

    I’m fine with DGC.

    As for EQN, I would imagine we’d see a bit more of it by now if its release was in any way imminent. We haven’t even gotten to a proper milking period yet!


  3. The Mystical Mesmer

    Your writing is particularly inspired today, but I do find that perhaps you have not fully jumped on board the post-modern business monetization model in which you can charge money at any point in the game development cycle.

    Also, we do not yet have a mocking nickname for DGC yet, much like we had with Sony Offline Entertainment. Perhaps something like “They Break Gaming Company?” or “They Break Games Company?”

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Mystical Mesmer – I admit that I may be a bit behind the times on the whole “if you’re asking for money, this means its done, right?” front.

    As for a nickname, I feel that a good derisive handle has to come naturally and reflect the foibles of the organization. It could be some time until we have the right one for the company name or the rework of some of their services, like SOE All Access. And we’re still waiting on the whole logo thing. Opportunities will present themselves.


  5. anon

    Ah, Wilhelm, I much prefer your previous reading of the whole thing.

    You say we are in the day after, when all flaws come to light. I’d say that’s not necessarily the case, since we don’t really know the new owner’s intentions. Maybe they are simply looking to pass this asset forward as soon (no TM) as possible, or at least keep that option open. Thus, the entire thing is basically “we are saying anything and everything that needs to be said at this point in time, move along” or, to put it in your metaphor, the day after is yet to shine over this.


  6. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @anon – When I say the flaws are visible, I only mean between Columbus Nova Prime and the Daybreak Counseling Services. They have to let it all hang out now as they are stuck with each other. My point was merely that Brian Epstein might be saying “near future” because he was led to believe that might actually be the case during the courtship.

    They will keep telling all of us on the outside that things are great. It will be like that article over at The Onion about the Facebook version of a marriage. It will only be by their actions that we shall be able to divine the truth.


  7. bhagpuss

    I think Mr Epstein (I was going to follow your lead and misname him Jacob but its so similar to his actual name I feared everyone would just think it was a typo…) is using the expression “near future” in its science-fiction sense of “25-50 years from now”. If he’d said the “very near future” that would have been 10-25 years away. Anything less than that is effectively now.


  8. SynCaine

    Trying to read into the understanding of ‘soon’ from someone who said H1Z1 was ‘released’ isn’t likely to yield great results, though it should be good for at least a few laughs.

    Speaking of H1Z1, recent events explain why Smed lied as much as he did about that title prior to selling it, and once the cash grab period was over, why they then backed down so much.


  9. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    I actually just went to Google to see what “Daybreak” returned for images. I see a lot of comedic potential in that, but I also see what looks to be a game and maybe even another game studio using that moniker. We shall see if they even stick with Damn Good Coffee or not.


  10. Talarian

    ‘I ask because I cannot see EverQuest Next being released during any period of time I would judge to be the “near future,” unless we start measuring against scales of time beyond the span of my life. ‘


    I’ve nothing more to add, aside from any company using the word “Soon” I am immediately suspicious.


  11. JJ Robinson

    At least someone in the industry finally admitted what we have all been saying for some time now; once you accept money for a game and it’s playable, then it has launched.

    I bet he pissed off several people in the industry with that slip up…


  12. Grumpy Koala

    Just as a better name for that game coming soon is Everquest Not! (after all Dave Georgeson had a period when he said at every games show that it was not Everquest. A better name for the ‘new’ ‘independent’ SOE is Sunset Games, because that is what has happened recently to some of their games in preparation for this and what will happen to a few more before the year is out and in the end what will happen to the whole company as it fades slowly into the sunset.


  13. p0tsh0t

    @HarbingerZero “that rare corporate ability to lie through your teeth and talk out of your ass at the same time”

    You need to get up to the front office more often. Not rare at all. They have it hauled in by the truck load.

    Wilhelm, you may recall that in the “near future” we’ll all be commuting to our jobs in our gyrocopters and electricity will be too cheap to meter, so I think “near future” is probably a fair assessment.

    But in all seriousness, the disrobing has just begun and the morning after wont occur for some period of time. In deals of this nature, some portion of the purchase price is held back or set aside, then there is typically a period after the deal has been consummated when a buyer can make claims that are essentially “its not what you said it was” therefore I get to keep some of the set aside or clawback a portion of the purchase price.

    That indemnity period is typically at least 1 year from closing, and often more (1-3 years, typically with the mean probably around 18 months – 2 years). That 1 year+ period is just enough time to not only uncover all the warts that may have been present at closing, but also to start seeing just how poorly that old pig will fly on its own (or how inept new management is).

    That’s when the long knives come out and bad behavior ensues. Buyer’s remorse is magically transformed into inconsistencies in the seller’s financial statement, revenue recognition policies, delivered inventory levels, etc., etc. And once in a while the dread “F” word (fraud, or at least allegations thereof).

    That’s when you know who you woke up with.


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