Recently, I’ve been hearing a lot of talk around Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios being in financial trouble. It’s fairly surprising seeing as how they did manage to release a hit game in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning with their developer Big Huge Games this past February.
Let us backtrack a little. Back in 2010, 38 Studios was lured away from their home in Maynard, Massachusetts to the downtown area of Providence, Rhode Island. The reason? The state of Rhode Island approved a loan for $75 million dollars. In return for the money, 38 promised to bring 450 jobs to the state by the end of 2012. By March 2012, the company had received around 50 million of the approved total amount.
Fast forward to May 1 when the first loan payment of $1.125 million was due to the state. Turns out, the company missed that very first payment. Cue the freak outs. An emergency meeting was held by state officials to discuss possible options in an effort to protect the public and discuss ways to keep the company ‘solvent’.
As we now know, Reckoning sold over 410,000 copies in the US shortly after it’s launch and 38 is currently hard at work on an MMO codenamed Copernicus in the Amalur universe. What is interesting is that even having a hit game, the company is still seemingly in financial crisis mode. I wonder if they underestimated the time frame needed to make a quality MMO? Outside of Reckoning, the company really has no money coming into the studio. It makes you wonder how much revenue they actually saw from the sales as EA helped publish and Big Huge Games were the developers. What’s worse than all that? If 38 Studios goes down (and there is a real possibility from what I’m hearing) the taxpayers of the state of Rhode Island would then be on the hook for a whooping $112 million dollars. Ouch.