daybreak games parent company

$2B Worth of Assets from Russian Company Columbus Nova Frozen, Daybreak Claiming No Affiliation

Note: There have been a few updates to this piece in the headline and at the end of this news post after the original editorial per request of Daybreak Games. The information of the story, however, has not been adjusted.


Bit of a tangled web, this, but let’s see if we can’t make it through together. The US Department of Treasury has frozen several assets owned by Russian oligarchs in connection with alleged destabilizing actions including meddling in the 2016 US elections. One of these assets is Renova Group, a subsidiary of Columbus Nova, which is the Daybreak Games parent company.

photo credit: Reuters/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

The oligarch in question is one Viktor Vekselberg, whose assets totaling between $1.5 to $2 billion have been frozen due to the sanctions. Additionally, Renova Group has seen all US dollar bank accounts under its control blocked.

What this means for Columbus Nova and for Daybreak Games isn’t immediately clear. Some European firms with connections to Renova Group have been affected by the sanctions while others have worked with authorities to clear certain business matters. The sourced report in question does not refer to Columbus Nova specifically one way or the other.

As far as Daybreak Games is concerned, it would appear to be business as usual. H1Z1 did reveal today that the battle royale shooter will be landing to PlayStation 4 as a free-to-play title, which will start closed beta sometime this month and hold an open beta on Tuesday, May 22nd.

everquest 2 gu103

What makes the matter even more confusing is the fact that Daybreak Games issued a statement to Massively Overpowered which says Daybreak Games is not affiliated with Columbus Nova. “Jason Epstein, former member of Columbus Nova, is and has always been the primary owner and executive chairman of Daybreak Game Company which he acquired from Sony in February 2015,” reads the statement.

However, the initial announcement made in 2015 states expressly that SOE was acquired directly by Columbus Nova. Furthermore, a look for Mr. Epstein’s public information does show that he ended partnership with Columbus Nova in December of 2017.

Another look at a list of Columbus Nova’s partners via Bloomberg lists Epstein’s name. It’s important to bear in mind here, though, that the Bloomberg information does not have a discernable way to verify if it is up-to-date.

A second statement to Massively Overpowered reads: “It was current executive chairman Jason Epstein, former senior managing partner of Columbus Nova that acquired Daybreak, not Columbus Nova itself. That distinction was never corrected in the past, so we are correcting that now.”


Daybreak Games have reached out to us with the following statement:

“Daybreak Game Company has no affiliation with Columbus Nova. Jason Epstein, former member of Columbus Nova, is and has always been the primary owner and executive chairman of Daybreak Game Company (formerly Sony Online Entertainment) which he acquired from Sony in February 2015.”

It reads pretty much the same as the statement sent to MassivelyOP at the end of our original story. And yet, their 2015 privacy policy is very clear:

“Daybreak Games may share your Personal Information for the purposes described in this Privacy Policy (except for direct marketing) with its parent companies, which consist of Columbus Nova Private Equity Group (“CN”) and any company controlled by CN that directly or indirectly owns fifty percent (50%) or more of the outstanding equity in Daybreak.”

For every wrinkle of this twisting story, you’re invited to get all of the details from our colleagues at Massively Overpowered

Our Thoughts

uh huh.

Sources: US Dept. of Treasury and Reuters via Massively Overpowered, H1Z1 press release

Related: , , , , , ,

About Chris Hughes

Chris is a literal wolf who has managed to learn how to use a computer. He enjoys cooking, roleplaying, writing, and reading those who do the same. You can find him staring at Twitter or read more of his attempt at humor at his blog, or in-game primarily on WildStar, Blade and Soul or Final Fantasy XIV.