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Rhode Island Receives $713K Kingdoms of Amalur Revenue

By - Source: Polygon | B 24 comments
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Rhode Island's lost out on quite a sum of cash in Kingdoms of Amalur's development.

Games development is a costly business to be a part of. It's a lesson that Curt Schilling, former MLB pitcher, had to learn the hard way.

Schilling had ambitious plans for a fantasy game. His vision was attractive enough to draw in respected fantasy author R. A. Salvatore and comic book creator Todd MacFarlane. Schilling even convinced the state of Rhode Island to give him a $75 million loan to develop the game with promises that he would create jobs.

When Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning finally launched in February last year, the bubble popped. Despite generally positive reviews, the game failed to gain traction in sales. Schilling was unable to repay the debts that 38 Studios (Amalur's developer) owed, and the studio eventually went under. Rhode Island seized up 38 Studio's assets, hoping to earn back some of the money lost.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Amalur is getting them too far down that route. The state has only received about $713,000 in sales from the game, a far shot from the millions it was owed. The only other funds that it has managed to raise has been from selling $430,000 in 38 Studio's remaining assets, which included office furniture.

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  • 11 Hide
    Spooderman , June 8, 2013 6:04 PM
    Too bad, it was really a good company that made a good game.
Other Comments
  • 11 Hide
    Spooderman , June 8, 2013 6:04 PM
    Too bad, it was really a good company that made a good game.
  • 0 Hide
    xerroz , June 8, 2013 7:14 PM
    $75 million loan? Looks like these people weren't out to make a good game but cheat the state out of millions. What a scam this was.
  • 7 Hide
    falchard , June 8, 2013 7:34 PM
    Can I please have a $75 million loan to make an mmo? Im good for it.
  • 0 Hide
    brucek2 , June 8, 2013 8:08 PM
    Is the $713,000 the total sales for the game? I'd have expected it to do much better than that.
    Now $75mm, that's a much taller order.
  • 1 Hide
    eklipz330 , June 8, 2013 11:19 PM
    75 million? what was he smoking? i remember gta iv cost 100 mill, that was staggering, but the game clearly showed it; the cost incorporated the design of a brand new engine and i believe the marketing campaign!
    KoA had a borrowed engine [i believe] and absolutely no marketing! i didnt even hear about until a week before it was released, and it was only because i worked at a gamestop!
  • 2 Hide
    lpedraja2002 , June 8, 2013 11:35 PM
    I think it would be very interesting to study the causes on why the product while critically well received, failed miserably.
  • 4 Hide
    alidan , June 9, 2013 1:51 AM
    Quote:
    $75 million loan? Looks like these people weren't out to make a good game but cheat the state out of millions. What a scam this was.


    the money was to set up a studio, which he did
    a AAA game costs about 50 million to make, which is what i believe he was shooting for
    he also was heavily in the development of a franchise, which was this game, and an mmo with a whole world behind it.
    all in all, 75 million for it sounds about right.

    Quote:
    75 million? what was he smoking? i remember gta iv cost 100 mill, that was staggering, but the game clearly showed it; the cost incorporated the design of a brand new engine and i believe the marketing campaign!
    KoA had a borrowed engine [i believe] and absolutely no marketing! i didnt even hear about until a week before it was released, and it was only because i worked at a gamestop!


    than you dont go to game websites, because i knew about this game for about 2 years before it was launched, and there was more or less an every other week till it was launched for months of new stuff for it

    Quote:
    I think it would be very interesting to study the causes on why the product while critically well received, failed miserably.


    this game was a new franchise
    it had an ok concept...
    the story, from what i remember, i rented it, was interesting, but wasn't carrying it
    honestly, i want to buy it, but the price of the game on the pc never goes down to where i would jump at it.

    loot games always have it a bit tough, this had an rpg and action which also don't do well unless you are an existing franchise.

    --------------

    now if i remember right, the state decided to call the debt in a real douchebag way, royally screwing the company, this was an investment that they should have stuck it out till the mmo, as it was shaping up to be something good. im glad the state got screwed,
  • 1 Hide
    somebodyspecial , June 9, 2013 2:39 AM
    The witcher 1 & 2 each cost ~7mil. AAA games don't cost 50mil unless you are an idiot with a bunch of fat cats (ea, activision etc...LOL). I think Torchlights were both made for under 2mil. For fun factor I call those AAA games.
  • 3 Hide
    Krisk7 , June 9, 2013 3:05 AM
    Quote:
    The witcher 1 & 2 each cost ~7mil. AAA games don't cost 50mil unless you are an idiot with a bunch of fat cats (ea, activision etc...LOL). I think Torchlights were both made for under 2mil. For fun factor I call those AAA games.

    Your analogies are not quite correct: The Witcher 1 costed over $6mln to produce and The Witcher 2 costed over $9mln. Additional factor is that they were produced in Poland entirely so to produce them in the US you would need double/triple the amounts. Also you need to add marketing costs on top. Although I agree that $50mln is way too high for a single player, an MMO development can be a bottomless pit.
  • 1 Hide
    jack1982 , June 9, 2013 6:22 AM
    So the politician's wasted $75 million of the taxpayer's money. Pretty typical ten minutes worth of work for them.
  • 0 Hide
    catswold , June 9, 2013 8:39 AM
    Just another example of your government at work.
    More than any other entity, a government excels at wasting large amounts of money. It's what happens when representatives lose their fear of the people they are supposed to represent and feel as though they have an unlimited amount of money to spend.
  • 0 Hide
    shoggothh , June 9, 2013 8:58 AM
    Typical that there's idiots blaming the government, when this is an individual using his fame to get a loan and then creating a corporation to absolve himself of any wrongdoing when his poorly handled concept fails.
  • -1 Hide
    Antimatter79 , June 9, 2013 9:05 AM
    Some game I bought months ago offered some free items or something if I completed the included Amalur demo, which I did. That was the most boring hour of my life I could remember in recent times. The game didn't look very good, the main character's animation was very clunky, and it was just a chore to finish the demo. Others may have their reasons for liking the game, but it was awful to me. I wonder how much of that $75 mil actually went towards the development of the game b/c I've seen lots of Indie and free to play titles that were far better efforts.
  • 0 Hide
    DRosencraft , June 9, 2013 9:05 AM
    In New England Schilling's name carries a ton of weight simply because he was a decent pitcher for the Boston Red Sox. He leveraged that to make a steal in terms of securing loans - remember, this loan from the Rhode Island government isn't even the only loan he got to help make his game. Rhode Island was drawn in by his name, and his promise to make a ton of jobs for them. Except his company never had anywhere near the promotional power to sell a game like this at the numbers needed to come close to recouping the loans.
  • 0 Hide
    chicofehr , June 9, 2013 10:20 AM
    So the only one who wins here is EA as they published it and didn't pay anything to make it.
  • 2 Hide
    evewhiran , June 9, 2013 11:24 AM
    Just a few notes:
    First, Kingdom of Amular sold over 1.3 million copies in its first 90 days of being on sale. Unfortunately for 38 Studios apparently it needed to sell over 3 million copies. That's not a failure.
    http://www.shacknews.com/article/73968/kingdoms-of-amalur-needed-3-million-sales-to-break-even
    Second, the State of Rhode Island actively courted 38 Studios and enticed them to move there. This was a bad business decision on the part of 38 Studios since they paid the moving fees for all of their employees.
    For whatever reason 38 Studios was hiring like mad and as part of the 75 million was required to have 450 employees. Think about that for a moment, 450 employees in a high tech environment is a -lot- in salaries. If the average salary was $50,000 USD (this doesn't include insurance, benefits, or anything else) that means it would cost 38 Studios under 2 million a month in salaries alone.
    As it was, they had 160 employees by April 12, 2011. That's just under 1 million a month in salaries alone. Plus moving expenses, plus benefits, plus operational costs, plus outfitting a new building, plus... the costs added up really fast. Oh, and loan payments on top of that.
    RA Salvatore was reported to have been promised to be paid over 1 million dollars to create 10,000 years of backstory. He claims he didn't get paid the full amount (being owed, according to bankruptcy filings 1.7 million) he did receive money for "day to day" expenses and "traveling." So whatever that is.
  • 0 Hide
    evewhiran , June 9, 2013 11:28 AM
    Apparently I don't know how to delete. Ignore the first part about 22 million a month in salaries. I thought I had deleted that sentence and this comment system doesn't seem to allow for editing.
    450 employees at 50k / year is just under 2 million a month in salaries.
  • 0 Hide
    olaf , June 9, 2013 2:35 PM
    Lol that much for a game that bad ? sigh ... "open world" my a$$ ... it was friggin linear and i saw 10y old console games that were better and they did't pretend to be open world. I like RPG's a lot but this game just couldn't hold me i gave up on it after like 2h of desperate trying .... saying to my self : cmon its just the beginning that's slow things will pick up ... NOT. Horrible console game ported even more horribly to the PC.... Skyrim is definitely a console port but there atleast they did a good job.
  • 3 Hide
    cmartin011 , June 9, 2013 5:21 PM
    I love my state we can't make good political decisions we cannot participate in any toms contests it is a wonder of a place to live in.
  • 0 Hide
    catswold , June 9, 2013 5:42 PM
    Quote:
    Typical that there's idiots blaming the government, when this is an individual using his fame to get a loan and then creating a corporation to absolve himself of any wrongdoing when his poorly handled concept fails.


    Only an idiot would believe that it was the place of government to be loaning money for start-ups, that's what banks are for . . . they're experts, government isn't qualified to pick what businesses receive loans--that's why we are seeing so many failures among the Obama Administrations favorite "green" companies.

    If venture capitalists won't pony up the cash in a situation like this, then it's a good bet the project's a loser.

    Wow! You joined this forum just to troll this topic? "Member since: June 9, 2013"
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