Straight from their “we’re closing the doors email” that went out a few hours ago:
There is one more story to tell before we part ways.
We fell in love with the EverQuest franchise and we wanted the best possible future for it. We knew Sony Online (300+ employees IIRC) was for sale so Storybricks (barely 10 people) tried to actually buy out the whole division.
We retained an investment banking firm as a proxy and they went directly to Sony Corporate bypassing the local executives. We would have been able to raise the necessary capital, and had interviewed new and existing management ready for a turnover.
Alas, it was not meant to be as the terms offered by Sony Japan were unacceptable to us and to our investors. It is my understanding that other buyers had the same reaction and, in the end, Columbus Nova got a completely different deal that the one we were offered, but by then our investor group had moved on.
Make no mistake the company needed cuts badly, and we would have cut and cut deeply. Possibly as deep as Columbus Nova did but maybe we would have cut more senior management and less game developers instead. It was our intention to try to acquire the 38 Studios assets and made them available to players in EQN. Moreover we would have probably changed the server infrastructure allowing people to run their own servers. It would not have been a very canonical EverQuest but we would have done the best to service our customers with the limited budget of an independent studio who wanted to punch above its weight.
We really did try our best. And our best was not enough.
I’m still gathering my thoughts, but in general I just have a lot of questions. Basically, if I’m reading this right, Sony Japan sold SOE for less than they could have gotten, to a company that didn’t know anything about games. Only way that makes sense is if there is some sort of pre-existing relationship between the people doing the deal at Sony and those at Columbus Nova. Like the Sony Exec’s godson/favorite nepher/golfing buddy is the big cheese/VP/owner of Columbus Nova. Either that or part of the deal was not made public or was done under the table. Either is a likely possibility.
#storybricks, #daybreak, #everquest next