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General: John Smedley Steps Down as CEO of Daybreak Game Company

SBFordSBFord Former Associate EditorMember LegendaryPosts: 33,126

In an unexpected move, is reporting that John Smedley has resigned as the CEO and president of Daybreak Game Company, formerly Sony Online Entertainment. Current COO Russell Shanks will temporarily step into Smedley's place until a replacement is found.

“I can confirm that John Smedley will be taking some time off from the company for the near-term and transitioning to a different role to be determined,” a spokesperson for Daybreak told GamesBeat. “Upon finalization of his plans, further communication will be provided.”

While not confirmed by a company spokesman, the resignation comes on the heels of the recent Twitter war Smedley engaged in after Julius Kivimaki from Lizard Squad received what Smedley ascertained was a too-light sentence for his part in a bomb threat that caused a plane he was flying on to be grounded.

From our story on July 9th:

A day after the sentencing of a member of Lizard Squad and subsequent Twitter tirade by Daybreak Game Studio's John Smedley, it appears that all of DGS's titles and its website are under DDOS attack, with players unable to log into either.

The altercation between Smedley and remaining Lizard Squad members began after Julius Kivimaki, the now-convicted criminal of more than 50,000 counts of computer crimes, was sentenced yesterday. Smedley took to Twitter to express his strong feeling that the sentence meted out by the court in Finland was too light.

His parents need to be held accountable for his actions in addition to his going to jail. @what_security - So I'm coming for you Julius.

— John Smedley (@j_smedley) July 8, 2015

A Twitter user claiming to be a member of Lizard Squad announced the attacks were imminent. Within minutes, the predicted DDOS began.

At this time, all Daybreak games are down and the team is actively working on a solution.

Shortly after this series of Twitter posts, and the subsequent DDOS attacks on all of Daybreak's games and its site, Smedley removed himself from the social network completely, leading, perhaps, to today's announcement.

Smedley has been a lightning rod of controversy over the years that he has been with the company, yet has been instrumental in the MMO and computer video games genres beginning with EverQuest, one of the first MMOs to hit the internet, and continuing through more recent MMOs including EverQuest Next, PlanetSide 2, and Landmark.

You can check out more at and a co-attendant thread on the forum, as well as leave your thoughts in this article's thread.

Thanks PudgyBunnyBry!





  • ishistishist Member UncommonPosts: 212

    He may be a polarizing figure who is hated by many, but you can't deny the awesome games his company built.

    Personally, he doesn't bother me. He may be brash and rude sometimes, but to me that's better than others who won't speak a word in a public forum without having it run through half a dozen handlers and their legal department.

    In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move. - Douglas Adams

  • Azaron_NightbladeAzaron_Nightblade Member EpicPosts: 4,744
    Smed will rise again! image

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  • ThebeastttThebeasttt Member RarePosts: 1,130
    I don't believe it! Finally this company might produce something that isn't complete garbage. Maybe make some of their current games playable while they're at it.
  • bcbullybcbully Member EpicPosts: 9,821
    Wow... They are saying Lizard Squad forced him out?
  • JamesGoblinJamesGoblin Member RarePosts: 1,242

      @OP Julius is still to get sentence for that plane thing, I guess Smed had previous sentences in mind.


       What happened to him is likely direct consequence of his tweets and the provoked DDOS, I believe he had couple of very unpleasant conversations with his Russian bosses meantime. Had I not lost hope and interest for EQN long time ago, I would be worried. Anyway, I guess nothing important will change.



  • BlaedusBlaedus Member UncommonPosts: 100
    Holy @$!#...
  • H0urg1assH0urg1ass Member EpicPosts: 2,309

    Ten years too late.

    Amazing to me that destroying several games didn't result in his removal, but 140 characters or less in today's absurdly PC world could.

  • IselinIselin Member LegendaryPosts: 13,150
    Originally posted by bcbully
    Wow... They are saying Lizard Squad forced him out?

    I wouldn't put it that way.


    What likely happened is that his bosses were either unaware or unconcerned about his habit of engaging fans and detractors alike on twitter and other social media. I think the latest highly public tweets about the Lizard Squad and subsequent DDOS attacks made them both aware and concerned.


    Whatever you think about his tweets, scummy hackers and free speech, it has been unusual public behavior (some would say eccentric) for the CEO of a large company.

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  • Panther2103Panther2103 Member EpicPosts: 5,364
    Smedley consistently lied about every game that they were releasing, toying with peoples heads on purpose so it would generate more buzz. Like the time he talked about EQ next saying it might have perma death, then the devs had to step in and say no it won't to make people stop talking about it. He knew how to generate buzz, but he also didn't know when to stop. He caused a lot of issues, and DDOS attacks were the last issue. I'm sure they pressured him out, or for once he couldn't handle the reaction. Either way I'm hoping they can get someone who will be a better CEO.
  • neumneum Member UncommonPosts: 143
    I wish him the best of luck but that jack ass should have been gone a very long time ago.

  • HulluckHulluck Member UncommonPosts: 830
    Originally posted by bcbully
    Wow... They are saying Lizard Squad forced him out?

    That's actually my thought. If it really is the core reason thugs won. It was probably only a matter of time before he was gone anyway after the buyout.  Timing though really makes it look bad.

  • GaladournGaladourn Member RarePosts: 1,805
    I think it's a display of "political correctness" from the new owners. Although this may be Smedley's style, I'm sure DBG shareholders won't take it lightly when he engages in open controversy over the internet with all sorts of impossible guys and on all sorts of topics.
  • Nemesis7884Nemesis7884 Member UncommonPosts: 1,023

    does that mean eqn is even deader or after smed, after all the guys that were fired and after story bricks gone, just moves into a completly different direction?

    will eqn now just become skyforge 2?


  • TorvalTorval Member LegendaryPosts: 19,884
    Daybreak is worried about the wrong thing. They should be worried about Holly Longdale's direction and leadership with EQ2. You're not going to have games to DDoS if she keeps on current course.
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  • observerobserver Member RarePosts: 3,685

    Can't blame him.  Just look at some of these comments on here.  Nothing but hate and vitriol.  If you don't like the games, fine, but why attack the people that make them?  I wonder if these same people attack employees who make their clothing, appliances, or cars.  I seriously doubt it, but when it comes to video games, they get emotional and hateful.  It's quite strange.

    edit: i should clarify, not really these comments here, but everywhere else too.

  • Nemesis7884Nemesis7884 Member UncommonPosts: 1,023
    it makes me just so said cause all the concepts of eqn sounded like one of those mmo's that i always wanted and that could bring innovation to the genre and revitalize it....but every news seem to make it less likely that this vision will come to fruition
  • GanksinatraGanksinatra Member UncommonPosts: 451
    This is what happens when you allow a company who has no game experience buyout your game company. They fire important people, sell off IP that could have made them insanely more money, and thenfire a man because he didn't tow the PC line with people responsible for costing you money. EQN is dead. Might as well deal with it now.
  • BlaedusBlaedus Member UncommonPosts: 100
    Damn. Seriously, he should have had some foresight. While he had every right to voice his displeasure, he should have really expected this to happen. If anything, he should have prepared himself for the attack if he wanted to do this. Now he's lost his job over this (most likely). Honestly, I feel bad for the guy and all he's gone through. I wish him the best of luck in the future. Hopefully, this group is caught in the end.
  • PAL-18PAL-18 Member UncommonPosts: 844

    When you lose the passion ,its time to pass the torch to someone who can keep it burning bright.


    So, did ESO have a successful launch? Yes, yes it did.By Ryan Getchell on April 02, 2014.
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  • tawesstawess Member EpicPosts: 4,170

    My guess it is a combo of

    health reasons (it is a high stress job to begin with. Add a bunch of basement dwelling cyber-terrorist wannabes saying they are going to blow up your plane to it and i am pretty sure that is some serious stress)

    PR (as speculated earlier about new owners) 


    Also he might feel that it is time to focus on his family and friends since i am pretty sure they have both suffered in the long run and not to mention lately from LS and similar. 

    Tawess gaming

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    This have been a good conversation

  • AeliousAelious Member RarePosts: 3,521

    Hopefully he'll enjoy some vacation time before coming back to do the same thing he did before but not publically.

  • SpottyGekkoSpottyGekko Member EpicPosts: 6,912

    Well, if this goes on much longer Daybreak Game Company won't have ANY of the old SOE employees left. The company has been completely "transformed".


    I'm not holding much hope for their future in the MMO industry. My guess is that they'll continue to milk the existing EQ games, while using the profits to focus on "other areas" of game development, which probably means I'll never be playing a Daybreak game ever.

  • Nemesis7884Nemesis7884 Member UncommonPosts: 1,023
    Originally posted by PAL-18

    When you lose the passion ,its time to pass the torch to someone who can keep it burning bright.


    im sure an investment company has a lot of "passion" for the games industry - at least for free to play mobile games...

  • MawneeMawnee Member UncommonPosts: 243
    This should have happened years ago. It was just the excuse the company needed to finally do it.
  • GanksinatraGanksinatra Member UncommonPosts: 451
    Originally posted by SpottyGekko

    Well, if this goes on much longer Daybreak Game Company won't have ANY of the old SOE employees left. The company has been completely "transformed". I'm not holding much hope for their future in the MMO industry. My guess is that they'll continue to milk the existing EQ games, while using the profits to focus on "other areas" of game development, which probably means I'll never be playing a Daybreak game ever.


    Sadly, there is a GRIP of job offers for Daybreak in Oregon newspapers for their Bend campus. Add that to Storybrix being axed and the firings already and it's not looking great. Not to mention it's never a good thing when gaming neophytes take control of one of the original online gaming studios. I forsee EQ shutting down soon if it doesn't start making more money and maybe EQ2.
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