CCP to be Acquired by Maker of Black Desert Online for $425 Million

Enemy on island. Issue in doubt.

-Commander Winfield Cunningham, Wake Island, December 1941

Well, we all knew things were not going well for CCP.  They had, near the end of last year, laid off a chunk of staff… again… after a new game, EVE Valkyrie, into which they had poured development time and resources failed to take off… again.

So we had to at least suspect that something was coming.  My double bonus extra credit prediction for 2018, made back on January first, was:

CCP will announce they are merging with, or being acquired by, another studio before the end of 2018.

Such was the mood of the time.  And while the year went on and we got bits of good news about games being made in partnership with other studios, with CCP’s main contribution being the EVE Online IP and art assets, I suppose nothing really changed overall.

Still, it was a surprise to see this tweet this morning.

In case that doesn’t come through due to AdBlock… or it getting deleted some day… it announces that CCP is to be acquired by Pearl Abyss, the makers of Black Desert Online.

I guess Pearly Abyss is a name we’ll be hearing a lot more now.

A new addition to the logo page

Venture Beat reports the price of the acquisition at $425 million.  That is less than the $1 billion that was being bandied about as a number by Bloomberg two years back, but still a sizable amount, and better than bankruptcy.

CCP has a press release up about the acquisition as well.  It says a lot of nothing, as such press releases must, but I’ll quote it here for posterity.

SEOUL – September 6, 2018 – Today, Black Desert Online developer Pearl Abyss announced that it will acquire CCP Games, the creators of popular spaceship MMORPG EVE Online. The deal outlines that CCP Games will continue to operate independently as a developer with studios in Reykjavik, London and Shanghai, while integrating the company’s extensive development and publishing expertise into Pearl Abyss’ operations for all current and future projects.

EVE Online is a space-based, persistent world MMO game, developed by CCP’s Reykjavik studio. The game first launched in 2003 and has since gained recognition for its scale and complexity with regards to player interactions in EVE’s single, shared game world. EVE Online is one of the most critically-acclaimed MMORPG intellectual properties (IPs) in North America and Europe, and one of the most extensive works of science fiction in the world.

Pearl Abyss CEO Robin Jung stated, “We are thrilled to have CCP Games join our team as Black Desert Online continues to branch out globally. CCP is a seasoned publisher with over 15 years of digital distribution experience and know-how. They have done an incredible job of engaging and maintaining their playerbase, which we aim to learn from and hope to integrate natively into Pearl Abyss’ general practices across all our games. I am confident CCP’s reputable IP and expertise in global publishing will help reaffirm our company’s dedication to developing and servicing the world’s best MMORPGs.”

“I have been seriously impressed with what Pearl Abyss has achieved ever since I first visited their website for Black Desert Online and subsequently became an avid player of the game,” said CCP Games CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson. “Pearl Abyss is a fast-growing company with lots to offer in terms of technology, capability and vision. I believe our two companies have a lot to learn from each other. We are very excited to join forces with them and achieve great new heights for our companies, our games and – above all – our players.”

Birgir Már Ragnarsson of Novator Partners and Chairman of CCP commented, “As lead investor in CCP for over 13 years alongside General Catalyst and NEA, we’ve seen CCP go from being a few dozen people strong to employing hundreds all over the world, with an ever-increasing customer base and multiple titles. CEO Hilmar V. Pétursson and his dedicated team have built a company that Novator and its partners are proud to hand over to Pearl Abyss and we wish them the best of luck in their future ventures.”

Pearl Abyss first launched its open-world MMORPG, Black Desert Online, in Korea in 2014. The game has received critical acclaim for its advanced graphics, seamless world, large-scale castle sieges and action-based combat system. Since Pearl Abyss’ initial public offering in 2017, the company has worked to secure competitive global IPs, such as EVE Online, through strategic investments and M&A activity.

Pearl Abyss saw record-high sales in the first half of 2018, following the launch of Black Desert Mobile in Korea. The company is looking forward to another strong year in 2019 with EVE Online and the upcoming global launch of Black Desert Mobile.

Deutsche Bank is acting as financial advisor to Pearl Abyss, and Kim & Chang is providing legal counsel. The Raine Group is acting as financial advisor to CCP Games, and White & Case LLP and LOGOS are providing legal counsel.

There is a Reddit AMA scheduled for tomorrow where, I am sure, we will be told everything is fine and nothing will change and that EVE Online will stay as it is or some such.

Hat tip to Rhavas… CCP Guard addressing the CSM

We will see some of this as well I am sure.

EVE Online Forever

And maybe it will be so.

But, having been through many acquisitions over my own career, in this stage of things it is in the interest of both companies to maintain the status quo and reassure everybody that there won’t be any significant changes.  That sort of news has to wait until the acquisition is complete and things have settled down a bit.

After all, everything was all light and happiness when SOE became Daybreak.  The layoffs came later.

So we’ll hear nothing of substance while those who love EVE Online fear the future and those who hate it hope that this will mean radical change.  The truth in the end will likely be less than anybody hopes for.  Expect lots of comparisons and memes.  So many memes.

(7:14:42 AM) directorbot@goonfleet.com: all characters must have at least 420 attack skill and 330 defense skill by next tuesday. If you don’t have the time to grind isk, you can purchase boosts from the store.

~~~ This was a broadcast from kcolor to opt-all at 2018-09-06 14:14:43.856271 EVE ~~~

I guess it might be time to see what Black Desert Online sells in their cash shop.  Maybe Jin’taan will get his cat ears after all.

Coverage of the story:

13 thoughts on “CCP to be Acquired by Maker of Black Desert Online for $425 Million

  1. inactiveseller

    I see the serenity change of recently landlords, as a sign of changes here, as the change name option available before in serenity. Time to read again the BDO notes about p2w in other blogs.

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  2. Pingback: CCP has been acquired. This is a good thing | A journey through the mind

  3. SynCaine

    BDO has had plenty of P2W controversy, so this won’t be good.

    Bit of an end-of-era piece of news really, the last real MMO is likely to get mutated into something that isn’t even worth following.

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  4. seanas

    I can see what is in it for PA – just last month, they announced they were going to change the marketplace in BDO to use buy and sell orders – but is avoiding bankruptcy what’s in it for CCP?

    Like

  5. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Seanas – CCP is in no risk of bankruptcy, I was just poking at Tobold again for declaring CCP would go that route. They could live on for along time if they just hunkered down and focused on EVE Online.

    CCP’s investors though, they want some return on their investment. I suspect that is the group pushing this deal on CCP.

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  6. Bhagpuss

    Well, it could be worse. Black Desert is probably the most successful and most popular of the wave of Eastern MMOs that washed over the West in the last two or three years. Yes, there’s been some controversy over P2W but you don’t have to look too hard to find plenty of positive press and player feedback for BDO. All the same, I’d bet most EVE players would rather CCP had indeed hunkered down and focused on EVE Online.

    I know I’m a rare (possibly lone) voice in saying that the sale of SOE to whoever it is that owns Daybreak has been an almost unalloyed positive for the playerbase. That, however, has been my experience and my observation. The difference would be that late-period SOE was a combination clown show and ego trip whereas CCP seemed to be steering a fairly steady and sedate course. However well this goes, relatively, I’d be surprised if EVE players as a whole end up thinking it was a good move for them compared to what they might have had if CCP had remained independent.

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  7. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Bhagpuss – There is a business to be made out of sustaining something like EVE Online. Standing Stone is doing that with LOTRO and DDO while Broadsword is doing the same with UO and DAoC. But you can only go that route if you don’t have outside investors. Abyssal Pearl might actually be the opportunity for the remains of CCP to do that. We’ll see how it goes.

    Daybreak has been a mixed bag. Certainly if your focus is Norrath, life is better now than it was five years ago. If you had your hopes pinned on a new Norrath game or… well… anything new, things are kind of sour.

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  8. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    Quote from the Venture Beat interview with Hilmar:

    GamesBeat: Is the game still well into the hundreds of thousands of players?

    Petursson: Yes. The MAU fluctuates a bit, but it’s 200,000 to 300,000 people.

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  9. Archey

    First thought: maybe this will serve as a check on some of CCP’s more boneheaded decisions, like quietly ditching the NPE.

    Second thought: no wonder it was named “Abyssal” deadspace.

    I might be a little cold but I’m not too worried about layoffs. Only around 3 CCPers that I know/like are left after previous layoffs and Seagull’s departure. I hope they stay on, but it’s a small number at least.

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  10. Pingback: All the news! #mmorpg | GamingSF

  11. zaphod6502

    Just to put in my two bits worth here – Black Desert Online is probably one of the best Eastern MMO’s on the market and is generally very well supported. To get the most out of BDO you do have to pony up for many cash shop items which is why it is a very profitable MMO. Expect Pearl Abyss to expand the micro-transaction shop in EVE.

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