Columnist: 38 Studios Loan a “High Stakes Gamble”

September 27, 2010 -

“What Government run/funded program in this country’s history has ever been run with an ounce of financial responsibility, prudence, or with the peoples (sic) best interest at the forefront? None, that’s which one.”

Those words were used by ex-Major League Baseball pitcher and current 38 Studios head Curt Schilling earlier this year, and are now being used against him in a searing indictment of the loan agreement between Schilling’s studio and the state of Rhode Island.

Rhode Island’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) lured 38 Studios to the Ocean State from Massachusetts with the promise of a $75 million loan, which was later paired to around $51 million. In a story entitled Curt Schilling’s Rhode Island Hoodwink, columnist Diane Grassi rips the entire deal.

Noting that Rhode Island’s unemployment rate is almost 12 percent, 4th highest in the U.S., Grassi writes that the original EDC program was to have a total budget of $50 million. When Schilling started to make noise about moving and asked Massachusetts for assistance or a loan to keep 38 Studios in Massachusetts, he also approached Rhode Island with a similar request.

Grassi writes:

Rhode Island, unlike its neighbor, Mass., apparently bought it hook line and sinker, because the program's original authorization was increased from $50 million to $125 million, with 60% of it specifically earmarked for Curt Schilling. Quite a feat for a non-resident with no prior allegiance to the state of Rhode Island, nor a commitment to personally move his home there to date, just his company.

If 38 Studios’ business did go south or it failed to live up to its end of the loan agreement, Grassi wonders how the company would be able to repay the loan:

… with intellectual property start-ups, unlike traditional manufacturing, where hard assets are used as collateral, there is little to liquidate with an IP venture. Its soft assets would include intellectual property, licenses, publishing contracts and software, but could be worth very little in the end.

She also estimated that 38 Studios would need to sell 1.75 million copies of its role-playing game Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in order to break even, though “best estimates” predict that the title would sell in the area of 1 million.

In answer to Schilling’s quote that led off this story, Grazzi wrote:

For now going to one of the most cash-strapped states, not to mention the smallest state, with hand outstretched in search of government subsidized corporate welfare is apparently just fine.


Comments

Re: Columnist: 38 Studios Loan a “High Stakes Gamble”

While I do agree with his statement, one has to admit he stuck his foot in it.   Guess it really doesnt pay (pun maybe) to irk off the people controlling the money . 

 
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Matthew Wilsonyes it help a sub section of the poor, but hurt both the middle and upper class. in the end way more people were hurt than helped. also, it hurt most poor people as well.04/16/2014 - 12:13am
SeanBJust goes to show what I have said for years. Your ability to have sex does not qualify you for parenthood.04/15/2014 - 9:21pm
NeenekoSo "worked" vs "failed" really comes down to who you think is more important and deserving04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoThough I am also not sure we can say NYC failed. Rent control helped the people it was intended for and is considered a failure by the people it was designed to protect them from.04/15/2014 - 7:04pm
NeenekoIf they change the rules, demand will plummet. Though yeah, rent control probably would not help much in the SF case. I doubt anything will.04/15/2014 - 1:35pm
TheSmokeyOnline gamer accused of murdering son to keep playing - http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Crime/2014/04/15/21604921.html04/15/2014 - 11:50am
Matthew Wilsonyup, but curent city rules do not allow for that.04/15/2014 - 11:00am
ZippyDSMleeIf SF dose not start building upwards then they will price people out of the aera.04/15/2014 - 10:59am
Matthew Wilsonthe issue rent control has it reduces supply, and in SF case they already has a supply problem. rent control ofen puts rent below cost, or below profit of selling it. rent control would not fix this issue.04/15/2014 - 10:56am
NeenekoRent control is useful in moderation, NYC took it way to far and tends to be held up as an example of them not working, but in most cases they are more subtle and positive.04/15/2014 - 10:24am
PHX CorpBeating Cancer with Video Games http://mashable.com/2014/04/14/steven-gonzalez-survivor-games/04/15/2014 - 9:21am
Matthew Wilsonwhat are you saying SF should do rent control, that has never worked every time it has been tried. the issue here is a self inflicted supply problem imposed by stupid laws.04/15/2014 - 8:52am
E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, Government created price controls don't work though. They may keep prices down for the current inhabitants, but they are the primary cause of recently vacated residences having astronomical costs. Look at New York City as a prime example.04/15/2014 - 8:50am
NeenekoI think free markets are important, but believe in balance. Too much of any force and things get unstable.04/15/2014 - 7:25am
NeenekoWell, the traditional way of keeping prices down is what they are doing, controls on lease termination and tax code, but it will not be enough in this case.04/15/2014 - 7:24am
Matthew WilsonI said that already04/14/2014 - 4:22pm
E. Zachary KnightMatthew, The could also lower prices by increasing supply. Allow high rise apartment buildings to be built to fulfill demand and prices will drop.04/14/2014 - 3:48pm
Matthew Wilsonthe only way they could keep the price's down, would be to kick out google, apple, amazon, and other tech companies, but that would do a ton of economic damage to SF, but I am a major proponent of free markets04/14/2014 - 2:54pm
NeenekoThe community people are seeking gets destroyed in the process, and the new people are not able to build on themselves. Generally these situations result in local cultural death in a decade or so, and no one wins.04/14/2014 - 2:09pm
NeenekoWell yes, that is the 'free market', but the market is only a small piece of a much larger system. The market does not always do the constructive thing.04/14/2014 - 2:06pm
 

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