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LasraelLarson

How Long will Columbus Nova's recent troubles take to trickle down to Daybreak Games (&SSG)?

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Read the relevant info here:

Recent Dust Up

very fishy are the details.  the about face from Daybreak on previous statements regarding Columbus Nova...  the potential for legal jeopardy...  this is very likely going to get messy.

hard to not see a negative impact down the chain of companies tied too.

only real question is how much time before the shit hits the fan?


the internet never forgets:

https://forums.daybreakgames.com/soe/index.php?threads/sony-online-entertainment-becomes-daybreak-game-company.11500068269/

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14 minutes ago, warspeech said:

I don't play LOTRO anymore but I'll be watching this one too.  

yeah the amount of internet memory holing that will need to be done in order to make the new narrative RE:

Jason Epstein

the actual owner & remove all ties to Columbus Nova (& Renova whose assets have been locked down)...   is astounding.

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The walk back from Jason Epstein (to massively) is quite fascinating.  "Oh, we worded that wrong 3 years ago and never corrected it"....um, what??

There is a post started about it on the OF, but if people think SSG is going to be transparent about this issue...well, then they haven't been paying attention the past few years.

 

 

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8 hours ago, LasraelLarson said:

Read the relevant info here:

Recent Dust Up

very fishy are the details.  the about face from Daybreak on previous statements regarding Columbus Nova...  the potential for legal jeopardy...  this is very likely going to get messy.

hard to not see a negative impact down the chain of companies tied too.

only real question is how much time before the shit hits the fan?

 


the internet never forgets:

https://forums.daybreakgames.com/soe/index.php?threads/sony-online-entertainment-becomes-daybreak-game-company.11500068269/

What better way to destabilize western civilization than to oversee the games they play?  Teach kids to gamble at an early age?  Da.  Emphasize entitlement and hand-holding through on-rails content?  Da.  Encourage moderators to censor any and all criticism levied against the product?  Da.  Makes you wonder how many of the forums shills are actually Russian operatives, eh comrades?

But as much as I'd like to blame the Russians for turning LOTRO into the worst MMO on the market...that's all on the Americans.

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well this is a rather big pickle.  anyway i am one to focus on time frames.

THIS ACTION was issued on April 6 2018 & went into effect April 23 2018.  there seem to be 2 provisions to minimize impact on parties involved.

May 7 2018 seems to be the wind down time frame for foreign entities

&

June 5 2018 the date given to United States persons and entities.  so a window of 43 days for effected parties to sort out the details. & there are reporting requirements & restrictions limiting.  a rather big pickle.

 

11 hours ago, Papi said:

The walk back from Jason Epstein (to massively) is quite fascinating.  "Oh, we worded that wrong 3 years ago and never corrected it"....um, what??

There is a post started about it on the OF, but if people think SSG is going to be transparent about this issue...well, then they haven't been paying attention the past few years.

don't think it was actually Jason Epstein responding to massively, but rather comms within Daybreak, who appear to be creating a narrative out of whole cloth. & one that could get them into legal hot-water with the Feds.

if this is to clean up the narrative & perhaps down the road Jason Epstein can divest the assets...  the potential bigger mess this could make...  it just seems to me to be a profoundly stupid thing to do.

...

with regard to SSG, there isn't much a dev house can do with this situation as it will be resolved well outside of their ability to influence.  as to what impact this will ultimately have for Lotro (& DDO), well be finding out over the next couple months i would guess.

Warner may come back into the picture, or somehow Daybreak may manage to pull clear of this mess, who can say for certain... way too many unknowns.  only thing i do feel certain of...  this is a big mess.

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5 hours ago, LasraelLarson said:

with regard to SSG, there isn't much a dev house can do with this situation as it will be resolved well outside of their ability to influence.  as to what impact this will ultimately have for Lotro (& DDO), well be finding out over the next couple months i would guess.

 

That is a fair point.  It is interesting that the executive producer explicitly said (recently in a live stream) that some dude at Daybreak is his boss.  I think people who say that Daybreak is just their publisher is underestimating the relationship between the two.

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Prediction: None of this will effect LotRO or any other game as far as being able to continue playing goes. (There might be some minor changes in ownership but development will be handled by the same people.)

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http://massivelyop.com/2018/04/26/daybreak-has-now-been-hit-with-layoffs/

the timing.  is this an isolated occurrence, specific to a single product?  ...  or will this be the snowball?


well it is not related to a single product, at least that much is clear.

it seems to be a rather substantial purge.   @daybreak.

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SSG posted a statement by DGC today. They said nothing themselves but simply cut and paste a press release from DGC. It is factually "questionable".

Then we have the layoff today at DGC today, following the departure of Chief Publishing Officer and former Senior Vice President, Laura Naviaux.

This story smells so bad and DGC are making such a hamfisted attempt to cover their tracks by deleting tweets, and editing Wikipedia, that finally the "big boys" of game industry journalism have caught on.

Here are my thoughts on the matter. May be tomorrow will shed further light on the matter. Bummer for those who lost their jobs today. Hope they find gainful employment elsewhere soon. Hopefully with a "better" company.

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31 minutes ago, Moderate Peril said:

SSG posted a statement by DGC today. They said nothing themselves but simply cut and paste a press release from DGC.

what is Cord going to do though, really.   i actually thought his stream statement was OK.  & not adding to that Blurb, IMO, was smart.

whomever is behind writing that post (seems someone who is also heavily involved with EQ teams) did a terrible job, or was directed to do a terrible job.  someone within Daybreak is directing moves & it is indeed hamfisted ...  & the potential jeopardy it may bring as a result, dumbfounding really.  the kind of stupid a heavy cocaine user would push & think a good idea.

so yeah, i'll applaud Jerry for not adding to that train-wreck of PR.  keep his hands clean.  smart move.

it would also seem reasonable that SSG reached out to Daybreak for something to placate with & that is what they got.  either way, with the gravity of what is going down, i think it was best for Cordovan to not add anything more.

40 minutes ago, Moderate Peril said:

... It is factually "questionable".

Then we have the layoff today at DGC today, following the departure of Chief Publishing Officer and former Senior Vice President, Laura Naviaux.

This story smells so bad and DGC are making such a hamfisted attempt to cover their tracks by deleting tweets, and editing Wikipedia, that finally the "big boys" of game industry journalism have caught on.

Here are my thoughts on the matter. May be tomorrow will shed further light on the matter. Bummer for those who lost their jobs today. Hope they find gainful employment elsewhere soon. Hopefully with a "better" company.

yeah the footprints left in all the memory-holing of media, with new additions...  the person, or persons driving this come up short in the level headed department.  it is a disaster.  it also doesn't seem compliant with the reporting/filing component required by the Department of Treasury which opens the door to all kinds of liability.  it really is a complete mess.

i wonder if the Limited Liability Company structure will continue to be the appropriate for Daybreak, if they should manage to continue?  those assets (or a large portion of them) will no longer be moving (flow through) to parties (Renova) who are now frozen.

regardless, it would seem there are definite time pressures forcing things forward, so it is very likely new news will continue to unfold over the next month+.  i don't think today's layoffs are the last of the happenings ...  more to come.

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Say what you will, but I give kudos to the folks @Massively for continuing to run with this story and providing updates.  It could have very well fallen under the radar.

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On 4/26/2018 at 1:14 AM, Papi said:

That is a fair point.  It is interesting that the executive producer explicitly said (recently in a live stream) that some dude at Daybreak is his boss.  I think people who say that Daybreak is just their publisher is underestimating the relationship between the two.

Well of course he has a boss at Daybreak.  You think WB simply handed over the mmo rights to SSG for free.  Someone had to pony up the cash, however much that might have been.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if Daybreak doesn't partially own SSG.  The lack of transparency over how that deal went down is troubling.  Why keep it a huge secret.  The deal is done, what NDA or other legal reasons do they have to keep it a secret?  

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On 4/26/2018 at 4:29 AM, FundinStrongarm said:

Prediction: None of this will effect LotRO or any other game as far as being able to continue playing goes. (There might be some minor changes in ownership but development will be handled by the same people.)

that is the thing with an 11 year old game inheriting a game engine and client that is even older legacy code (Ashrons Call 1998) it gets incredibly troublesome passing that off to an entirely new team.  so any new buyer is going to be saddled with inheriting that burden, or paying a heavy price to fix/upgrade those issues.

so you are playing it safe when saying the existing team will be part of any potential future timeline.  because without them, it is entirely likely the game will end...

abruptly.

but as outlined in THIS

from FAQ for ^^:

Quote

OFAC is authorizing a time-limited maintenance or wind down of operations, contracts, or other agreements that were in effect prior to April 6, 2018 and in which the blocked entities listed in General License 12A have an interest, provided that any payment made directly or indirectly to the blocked entities listed in General License 12A be deposited in a blocked account at a U.S. financial institution. 

In general, General License 12A would authorize all transactions ordinarily incident to the continuity of operations or to facilitate a wind down, including the provision of salary payments, pension payments, or other benefits, by the blocked entities listed in General License 12A, or the provision of services by the employee to such blocked entities, until the expiry of General License 12A.

U.S. person employees are encouraged to review the applicable OFAC regulations, authorizations, and public guidance.  If, after conducting that review, you are concerned that your activities as an employee are not authorized by general license, you may contact OFAC. 

If you are a U.S. person employee of an individual or entity that is not among the blocked entities listed in General License 12A, including entities blocked pursuant to OFAC’s 50 percent rule, you are prohibited from engaging in transactions with such individual or entity, including the provision or receipt of goods or services, or otherwise transacting or dealing in any property in which the individual or entity has an interest.  If you wish to seek authorization to maintain or wind down operations, contracts, or other agreements with such individual or entity, contact OFAC.

 

that General License 12A expires:  12:01 a.m  eastern daylight time, June 5, 2018 after which:

Quote

U.S. persons participating in transactions authorized by this general license are required, within 10 business days after the expiration date of this general license, to file a comprehensive, detailed report of each transaction, including the names and addresses of parties involved, the type and scope of activities conducted, and the dates on which the activities occurred, with the Office of Foreign Assets Control, Office of Compliance and Enforcement, U.S. Department of the Treasury...

that filing wind up date is Tuesday June 19th. 2018.

but whatever is required sorted needs happen by June 5th 2018.

should there be a new publisher or relationship unwind in that time frame, they have a whole lot of "ifs" to sort through.

& the question of fair market value may come up depending on the buyer being someone like (Jason Epstein)

or selling at a loss if someone like Intrepid Studios happens to be in talks to acquire assets.

regardless any money paid out immediately gets frozen by the Feds.

so yes, there is a chance things could go on, though i wouldn't call it "as normal."

it is also entirely possible the lights will go out rather rapidly.

either way it is a huge mess...

i'll pass on making any predictions. ;)

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well they finally got round to scrubbing Jason Epstien partner blurb from Columbus Novas web page, so my previous links will go to a modified page...

not to worry, everything is Cached

but just for fun i will permanently quote here, what they are trying to memory hole out of existence:

Quote

Mr. Epstein is a Managing Partner of Columbus Nova MB, the US investment vehicle for the Renova Group which is a multi-national, Zurich-based industrial holding.

there are legal ways to decouple this mess, but erasing the above doesn't seem to fit those avenues.  wouldn't surprise me if this winds up with jail time for some US citizens, or conditioned plea-bargain deals...

 

4 hours ago, Almagnus1 said:

So in other words....

thing is with all these LLC companies from Renova all the way down...  the company shell game of tax avoidance & the scrambling to keep assets in play...  what happens when the story of 3+ years of failing to correct the record triggers an audit?

this mess probably has gone on for far too long.

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The plot does thicken considerably.  The same shell company used by Michael Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels received $500k from Colombus Nova last year.

Now it's not just the gaming press looking at this, it's the NYT and Mueller.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/us/politics/michael-cohen-shell-company-payments.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/04/us/politics/viktor-vekselberg-mueller-investigation.html

Haven't posted here before, but played LOTRO a long time, and this recent news has me wondering whether this Russian company bought these MMOs for various purposes likely including money laundering and access to subscriber lists, passwords, credit cards, etc.

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I'm not keeping up with this. Am I right in thinking this is something to do with a games company being owned by a Russian and something illegal happened?

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10 hours ago, Sangfred said:

The plot does thicken considerably.  The same shell company used by Michael Cohen to pay off Stormy Daniels received $500k from Colombus Nova last year.

Now it's not just the gaming press looking at this, it's the NYT and Mueller.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/08/us/politics/michael-cohen-shell-company-payments.html

what i find most interesting about the article linked in this quote above is this little tidbit i'll quote below:

Quote

References to the transactions first appeared in a document posted to Twitter on Tuesday by Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for Stephanie Clifford, the adult film star who was paid $130,000 by Essential Consultants to keep quiet about an alleged affair with Mr. Trump. The lawyer’s seven-page document, titled “Preliminary Report of Findings,” does not explain the source of his information but describes in detail dates, dollar amounts and parties involved in various dealings by Mr. Cohen and his company. Most of the transactions involved two banks: First Republic Bank and City National Bank.

isn't it interesting that Avenatti, who has not begun the process of discovery associated with an actual trial, has access to all these "so called" documents...  as if he was being fed them (prematurely) by someone.

hope this...  unconventioned approach...  doesn't backfire.

10 hours ago, Sangfred said:

Haven't posted here before, but played LOTRO a long time, and this recent news has me wondering whether this Russian company bought these MMOs for various purposes likely including money laundering and access to subscriber lists, passwords, credit cards, etc.

Renova was the Russian firm, Columbus Nova was:

Quote

  the US investment vehicle for the Renova Group

Columbus Nova  had holdings in pretty much anything and everything, not just daybreak.

Jason Epstein was the managing partner @ Columbus Nova in charge of Daybreak...  and also on boards of:

Clareos Inc: an internet based analytics co. - Rhapsody International Inc.: a music streaming service (Napster?) - Odyssey Media Group: a social content platform - Map Anything Inc.: uhh...  route planning software for drivers. - Cyalume Technologies Holdings, Inc.:  manufacturer of bloody glow in the dark junk, among other things. - Watsco inc.:  heaters & air conditioning, yadda yadda. 

as well as connections too:

eLink Communications Inc,  Ameritrans Capitial Corp., Tufts University,  CIFC LLC, & Intergis LLC.

so it wasn't just MMO's, or distributed computer games.  & the 4 or 5 divisions within Columbus Nova alone (i didn't list)...  this was just Jason Epsteins ties alone.  of which there is a record, tax filings, business registrations, etc. going back many years (Daybreak the last 2 or 3)... a huge mess to sort out.

5 hours ago, Doro said:

I'm not keeping up with this. Am I right in thinking this is something to do with a games company being owned by a Russian and something illegal happened?

not quite.

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On 5/9/2018 at 9:29 AM, LasraelLarson said:

Clareos Inc: an internet based analytics co. - Rhapsody International Inc.: a music streaming service (Napster?) - Odyssey Media Group: a social content platform - Map Anything Inc.: uhh...  route planning software for drivers. - Cyalume Technologies Holdings, Inc.:  manufacturer of bloody glow in the dark junk, among other things. - Watsco inc.:  heaters & air conditioning, yadda yadda. 

12dd4n.jpg

 

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for preservation, info on 2 key people:

the scrubbed profile for Andrew Intratar: http://www.columbusnova.com/andrew_intrater.html

IIUvsF3.jpg

and the Cached Version

&

the scrubbed profile for Jason Epstein: http://www.columbusnovamb.com/jason-epstein-partner/

5fR3G0N.jpg

and the Cached Version

soo...  my grapevine thinks the next "Happening" is a week and a bit away, but before months end.

 

On 5/10/2018 at 7:37 AM, Almagnus1 said:

12dd4n.jpg

 

yeah i know ridiculous, but seems ([sic]NOT)Columbus Nova (whom Jason Epstein allegedly didn't work for after 2017) bought both newer Rhapsody & the much older Napster (likely both "bought for a song"... no pun intended) and reverted the newer name for the older.

as for the companies i listed which you quoted, was from Bloomberg, and though it is a rather large list...  it would seem at this point, to also be incomplete.

it is missing details on Gawker! & the specifics of his involvement with Harmonix are a tad muddied on Bloomberg, they are mentioned separately & i failed to include.

a very tangled mess of a web of shell companies, all failing to correct the record...   until right around exactly the same time the US Treasury started freezing assets. & the remaining assets that have been used to "wind down" operations (including salary payments) are due to be locked down June 5th.

& whatever does make it through & past that date that hasn't been sold off, still has the jeopardy of things like audits hanging over their heads.

Edited to Add:

one more link:

https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2018-05-11-harmonix-denies-association-with-columbus-nova

it seems the odd symptoms of denial have affected pretty much all companies that appeared to claim purchase from Columbus Nova at one time or another.

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This weekend on the OF a lot of people are reporting sustained gold-seller spam on all servers at the same time, clogging up World Chat.

That made me wonder if the gold sellers are trying to get every last thing they can before June 5, in case this potential customer base dries up one way or another?

 

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