President and CEO of Daybreak Game Company, John Smedley, has been with the company since the very beginning, back when it was known as Sony Online Entertainment and created the monumental MMO EverQuest.
Smedley also saw Sony Online Entertainment through its transition to becoming Daybreak Game Company after Sony sold off the company to investment firm Columbus Nova. After helping the company achieve legendary status with EverQuest and also aiding in the creation of the online zombie game H1Z1, it’s been announced that Smedley is retiring from his position as president and CEO of Daybreak.
Smedley will reportedly remain with the company in an unspecified role. In the meantime, the company’s current Chief Operating Officer, Russell Shanks, will be taking over Smedley’s position and absorbing all of his duties.
Daybreak said in a statement, “John Smedley will be taking some time off from the company for the near-term and transitioning to a different role to be determined. Upon finalization of his plans, further communication will be provided.”
While concrete details as to why Smedley is stepping down from his position at the company he’s been with for well over a decade have yet to be divulged, it’s very possible that it’s related to Smedley’s public controversies. Smedly has been notoriously outspoken on Twitter, announcing the banning of 24,000 players of H1z1 due to cheating while also referring to them as “cockroaches” and saying, “We are going to be relentless and public.” He also stated that the age of subscription-based World of Warcraft MMOs are “over”, another statement that drew plenty of controversy for Smedley.
However, the most recent Twitter controversy for Smedley is definitely the most serious, as it deals with the Lizard Squad DDoS situation, of which Smedley was a prominent victim. Smedley had his personal information released to the public, his identity stolen, a plane he was on brought down due to a false bomb threat, was “swatted”, and more, all by Lizard Squad member Julius Kivimaki.
Kivimaki was recently convicted of over 50,000 counts of cybercrime in Finland, but his sentence has been considered extremely lenient by many. Smedley took to Twitter after the sentencing, calling Kivimaki a “sociopath that will get what’s coming to him.”
Smedley didn’t stop there. He also threatened further legal action by threatening to take Kivimaki’s parents to court, as Kivimaki himself is a minor. This Twitter rant, while justified by the horrendous actions Kivimaki and Lizard Squad took against Smedley, could serve to further provoke the infamous hacking group, which is something Daybreak would definitely like to avoid.
Whatever the reason Smedley has decided to step down from his role as president and CEO of Daybreak, there’s no doubt that he will be missed at the studio during his near-future absence, and hopefully his new role when he returns allows him to remain active in the ongoing development of the new EverQuest and H1Z1.
Source: VG 24/7