After a long and prestigious run at the helm Sony Online Entertainment – which has since parted ways with the Japanese publisher to become Daybreak Games – CEO and lead developer John Smedley has announced his decision to retire from the position.
Working as co-founder on a string of successful online-centric titles such as Everquest, DC Universe Online, PlanetSide 2 and H1Z1, Smedley’s role within the company was instrumental as it grew into one of the most efficient studios in the industry. In a statement provided to VentureBeat, Daybreak confirmed that it will now hand over all duties and internal responsibilities to Chief Operating Officer Russell Shanks.
“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 Daybreak representative said in a statement. “Upon finalization of his plans, further communication will be provided.”
According to the studio’s representative, John Smedley will remain at the company for the near-future, though his exact position is still to be determined. His resignation from the post comes a troubled period for Sony Online Entertainment, who were besieged by numerous DDoS attacks from the hacking group known as Lizard Squad.
This harassment got personal when Smedley’s plane was grounded following a bomb threat, and though it wasn’t explicitly stated during today’s announcement, it wouldn’t be surprising if Lizard Squad’s attacks were one of – if not the – biggest reason behind the former CEO’s decision to step down.
There’s no official statement from John Smedley himself after this recent turn of events, but we’ll be sure to update this post when we learn more.