Enad Global 7 dropped their Q3 2021 earnings announcement and report on Thursday.
Enad Global 7
I don’t know if things have changed at the company since Ji Ham was put in charge, but Daybreak does seem to be at the center of things at the company. There is even a chart that puts the watchful eye of the Daybreak logo in a position that can’t help but draw attention to the size of its influence at the company.
None dare meet its terrible gaze
I realize that image is just to show all the things various groups in the company touch, but they could have made a chart that didn’t highlight an oversize Daybreak logo in a circle of light relative to the other parts of the company, but they chose to all the same. And, in so choosing, it is hard not to read something into it.
Still, if we are getting what turns out to be Daybreak 2.0, at least it is a publicly held version of the company so they have to show up and tell investors and the general public what is going on four times a year. That would be about four more times a year than privately held version did.
And a Swedish public company. I guess we have to remember that. Because if a US company dropped a major announcement on Thanksgiving Day, one would automatically assume a desire to hide something. But it was just another chilly autumn Thursday in Stockholm.
On the financial side of things the company is very big on showing how much better it did on the revenue front when compare to Q3 2020, with numbers growing over 400%. This was, of course, before several key acquisitions, including Daybreak, so we’re seeing one of the quirks of corporate accounting where an asset acquired is assumed to be worth exactly what you paid for it… that being how value is determined in the market… so buying Daybreak was a wash and all their revenue is an automatic bonus.
The company continues to emphasize many of the Daybreak brands in the report:
- Key first party brands include:
- EverQuest, considered to be one of the three most iconic fantasy MMO brands in the
world together with World of Warcraft and Ultima Online.
- H1Z1, the very first battle royale game that was credited as one of the inspirations
for Fortnite, with over 40 million life-to-date (LTD) registrations.
- Big Blue Bubble’s My Singing Monsters, which has over 82 million LTD registrations
on mobile and now expanding to PC and console.
- Top tier global third party brands:
- DC Comics from Warner Brothers with continuing pipeline of content from
blockbuster feature films and TV shows.
- The Lord of the Rings, arguably the most iconic classic fantasy IP, primed for
resurgence with the new Amazon series on its way.
- The Dungeons & Dragons from Wizards of the Coast, with a world-wide passionate
fan base and a new feature film on its way.
- 4game’s third party brands, including Lineage, Black Desert Online, Blade and Soul
EverQuest is certainly iconic for those who pay attention to the MMORPG genre, though as a brand it does fall pretty squarely into the realm of “what have you done with it lately?” The two titles in that brand are still modestly active and get updates, but both also show their age.
And then there is the ongoing wish-casting about H1Z1. I mean sure, not only did it inspire Fortnite, the guy who led PUBG worked on H1Z1 as well. But that is all in the past for a brand that by their own accounts nobody is working on. It is a bit like General Motors reminding us of the Pontiac or Oldsmobile brand because they still sell repair parts for the otherwise discontinues lines.
While the financials are fine, they are a bit boring, because the company is simply doing okay. Q3 is dull for Daybreak because “summer,” but Q4 will see a big boost with expansions being shipped at players returning to the game. Overall they aren’t setting anything on fire, including themselves, so bravo to them, but the future is where promises lay. And in the presentation they have a few explicit looks into their plan.
In the near term, which is between now and the end of 2022, the company has the following lined up.
EG7 Q3 2021 slide 17
Not a lot there for Daybreak fans, and I honestly have no insight into My Singing Monsters, but some things are in the queue beside the business as usual updates for current products.
Past that, into what they refer to as the Medium-term, things are a bit more interesting for those of us on the Daybreak desk.
EG7 Q3 2021 slide 17
Medium term isn’t defined, but since they have a column dedicated to 2022, I think it is safe to assume that this means past 2022, so perhaps things that might come to fruition in 2023 or 2024.
First up is LOTRO. I am not sure where they get that top ten ranking metric, but LOTRO does stand out in many way and it is arguably both the biggest and truest simulation of the works.
But here they double down on one of the early promises of the Daybreak acquisition, a revamp to upgrade visuals, a modernization of the experience, and a release on consoles. And I guess the medium term time frame may be viable for all of that, though I would push the very end of 2024 as the earliest we might see results. The problem with an old title with many expansions is the extent of the visuals that need to be upgraded. There is simply a lot of manual effort that will need to go into that and even if they are ramping up staff right now… and SSG has job openings listed… it will be a long march to get there.
And then there is the console plan, something I dismissed back when they first announced it eleven months back. It seemed wishful thinking. But if it is still in the plan, that too feels like a huge project. Not only do visuals need to be upgraded to work on current generation consoles, but the UI of the game… which people have been complaining about since day one as being sub-par for the genre… will need to be completely redone from scratch.
It honestly feels like they will need to branch the game, that they will need to split off and have Legacy LOTRO with a small caretaker team to keep it going, then focus efforts on what I will call LOTRO Next, where most of the work on the game will happen, which will yield a better looking, but very different version of the game.
That is my prediction anyway. We shall see if we get another expansion for Legacy LOTRO or if work gets aimed elsewhere.
Then there is DC Universe Online, the “one and only” superhero MMO, so forget about Champions Online or all those attempts to remake City of Heroes, they are all illusory.
DCUO is big on consoles, and was at one point the biggest revenue free to play title on PlayStation. So investing in it, to bring it up to the standards of the current generation, seems like a good plan. And they even mark 2023 as a point for upgrades and a big content update. Also, if you were going to make another superhero title, say one based on the Marvel IP, then it would be good to have an up to date engine and platform with which to work.
And, finally in the medium term, there is Minimal Effect. Sounds fun. I’d give it a try.
After that we get to the “Longer Term” plans.
EG7 Q3 2021 slide 17
I am going to guess that longer term means past 2024, so a few years down the road. In software that is often so far away and subject to so much change that it is generally regarded as tenuous at best. Roadmaps are often fluid past a certain point and no company promise beyond the six month mark can be counted on. But you have to at least have a plan.
The two shooters, IGI Origins and 83, don’t interest me, and certainly not if we’re talking about titles three or more years out, but then there is the “Unannounced MMORPG” which, if it is in your slide deck and you’re telling us the IP on which it will be based, is kind of announced.
Dimensional Ink’s Unannounced Project has a logo of sorts
I have said a few times since the EG7 acquisition of Daybreak that this will be the Marvel IP version of DC Universe Online. I mean, why wouldn’t it be? DCUO is already the most played title in the Daybreak lineup, it is popular on consoles, it is getting an upgrade to make it look good/play good on current generation consoles, this seems like a gimme.
Sure, what I keep referring to as Marvel Universe Online probably won’t be called exactly that, and it will get some tuning and some differentiation so it won’t feel like a complete knock-off reskin of DCUO… that could go very badly if done in a cheap way… but I remain very firm in my belief that it will be, at its core, a sibling, if not a twin, to the one and only superhero MMO. Dimensional Ink, the Daybreak studio that does DCUO has a placeholder on its site for this new title and has job listing for it as well.
Anyway, those are my immediate take away thoughts from the Q3 2021 presentation. There is a lot more in there, but I don’t want to write a book. Links to the sources and other coverage below.