Say farewell to any dreams about a Marvel Universe Online landing with Enad Global 7, as they announced in a press release that they were giving up on the project and writing of the money invested in it so far.
The press release was short and to the point and surprisingly not released at 4pm on Friday afternoon. But they had an earnings announcement to do, and you have to get the bad news out with that. The actual text for posterity:
EG7 plans to reinvest Marvel development resources across multiple long-term projects
EG7 today announced it will be discontinuing the development of the Marvel project at Daybreak Games. Based on the re-evaluation of the development risk profile, size of investment, and the long-term product portfolio strategy for the group, the board has decided to change the development priorities and reallocate resources within the group to focus on alternative long-term projects. The company had planned to invest more than SEK 500 million in the Marvel project over the next three years. The company will now diversify this investment across multiple, smaller size projects within the group, including the previously announced major upgrades to The Lord of the Rings Online and DC Universe Online, and new game opportunities with our first party, original IPs. Along with this reallocation, the company expects a write down of approximately SEK 230 million in project related assets in Q2 2022. As one of the long-term investments, the change to the Marvel project plan will not impact near to medium term revenues and profits other than the balance sheet and P&L impact related to the write-down.
You will note the not very subtle spin about investing in other projects… projects they already said they were investing in previously. Does that mean they are investing more in things like LOTRO and DCUO? I don’t know. Maybe?
The assumed reason for the cancellation of the project is the departure of Dimensional Ink studio head Jack Emmert, whose history with super hero MMOs is the stuff of legend.
His leaving, along with whoever he took with him to go work at NetEase, was apparently enough to scuttle the project. That is always a hazard if a project depends on specific individuals.
This is pretty much a calamity for Daybreak as it continues their lifetime streak of bringing no new projects to launch since the SOE era. Seriously, H1Z1, EverQuest Next, and Landmark were all under way before Daybreak, so the sum total of Daybreak initiatives looks like the spectacular failure of PlanetSide Arena.
Not only that, but the Marvel project might have been the most widely covered thing that Daybreak has ever announced. My Google alerts about the company were lit up for days following the tease that they were making a Marvel IP based MMO.
Of course, what I was already calling Marvel Universe Online should have been a slam dunk. DC Universe Online is already the most popular title in their stable and generates the most gross revenue. (EverQuest, so very cheap to maintain, and such a pillar of the genre, matches it for net profits though.) Daybreak would have had to go really, really wrong to mess this up.
And yet, here we are.
Then there was the Q1 2022 quarterly report, where they noted income was up year over year, largely through acquisitions, the stock price was down, Daybreak is still the largest single contributor towards revenue, Ji Ham is still acting CEO, and that Innova, a Russian company, is no longer an issue, double pinkie swear.
There wasn’t a lot of new in there, so I won’t spend a lot of time on it, save for this slide.
You can see they are still betting on a boost from Amazon’s second age Middle-earth show and that they still want to invest in the things they have said they wanted to invest in previously. At least H1Z1 isn’t being promoted quite so vigorously… and I say that only because they appear to have no plan for it, so they shouldn’t be promoting it.
So it goes. The high hopes of 18 months ago seem to have fallen, sapped by the reality of Daybreak at the gaming industry in general.
- EG7 – Press Release
- EG7 – Q1 2022 Financials Presentation
- Massively OP – EG7 Q1 2022 financials: EG7 has canceled Daybreak’s Marvel MMORPG
- MMO Fallout – Daybreak has Cancelled its Marvel Game