John Smedley (business executive)

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John Smedley
John Smedley GDC 2012 Business Keynote Wednesday-4092 (cropped).jpg
Smedley giving a presentation at the 2012 Game Developers Conference
Born (1968-08-27) August 27, 1968 (age 54)
OccupationBusiness executive

John Smedley (born August 27, 1968) is an American business executive. He is the general manager at Amazon Games. He was the former president of Daybreak Game Company, which changed its name from Sony Online Entertainment in 2015.

Early life[edit]

Smedley was born on August 27, 1968. He became heavily involved in tabletop role-playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons, which would later give him the ideas for EverQuest. He attended Mt. Carmel High School in San Diego, California, before graduating and attending San Diego State University.


In the early 1990s Smedley started a development company called Knight Technologies that produced contract games.[1]

Smedley was involved with the creation and development of the original EverQuest,[2] and was co-founder of Verant Interactive, Inc., which became Sony Online Entertainment, Inc. (SOE) after it was purchased by Sony Pictures Entertainment in 2000.[3]

In 2007, he announced a change in direction for Sony Online Entertainment, including a broadening of business models beyond the subscription model and pursuing female consumers to balance their audience, which was 85% male at the time.[4]

On August 24, 2014, a hacking group called Lizard Squad claimed that the plane on which John Smedley was flying (American Airlines Flight 362 from Dallas, Texas to San Diego, California) had explosives on board. This led to the flight being diverted to Phoenix, Arizona.[5][6]

On July 22, 2015, after threatening a member of the hacker group Lizard Squad on Twitter,[7] Smedley stepped down from his position as president and CEO of Daybreak Games Company.[8] Four months after stepping down, Smedley announced the startup of his own game development company, Pixelmage Games, and a game called Hero's Song. In January 2017, Pixelmage announced the closing of the studio and subsequently the development of Hero's Song. He currently is the general manager of Amazon Game Studios San Diego.[9]


  1. ^ "Moby Games - Knight Technologies". Retrieved 8 February 2013.
  2. ^ Ramsay, Morgan (2012). "John Smedley". In Ramsay, Morgan (ed.). Gamers at Work. Gamers at Work: Stories Behind the Games People Play. Apress. pp. 169–191. doi:10.1007/978-1-4302-3352-7_10. ISBN 9781430233527.
  3. ^ "John Smedley Biography". Sony Online Entertainment. Retrieved 2007-06-19.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Sony's Other Games Division Makes Push in New Direction". NY Times. 2007-06-11.
  5. ^ David Gilbert. "Who Are Lizard Squad - Isis-Linked Hackers or Trolls Making Bomb Threats?". International Business Times. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  6. ^ Paul Tassi. "Hackers Ground Sony Executive's Flight With Bomb-Threat Tweet". Forbes. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  7. ^ Retrieved 8 August 2015. {{cite web}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  8. ^ "Daybreak Game Company's John Smedley steps down as chief executive officer". Retrieved 22 July 2015.
  9. ^ McWhertor, Michael (February 15, 2017). "Amazon opens new game studio led by EverQuest creator John Smedley". Polygon.

External links[edit]