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38 Studios Rhode Island Deal Draws Criticism

Posted Tue, Aug 10, 2010 by Martuk

Developing video games can be a costly venture and 38 Studios founder Curt Schilling can attest to that after investing a good portion of his own funds into his game development studio. But last month Schilling found a new way to bring in some additional funds by moving 38 Studios to Rhode Island and taking advantage of relief provisions provided to High Tech companies. Schilling accepted the offer and could gain up to $75 million in loans for 38 Studios provided the developer meets certain benchmarks.

However, not everyone is happy about the fact 38 Studios could get such a large chunk (60%) of the state's $125 million budget set aside for these loans. According to a recent article at Gamasutra, the offer is drawing fire from key Rhode Island political figures like senator Lincoln Chafee and state Treasurer Frank T. Caprio. The Providence Business Journal even reports that Chafee made a request to the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation to reconsider and suspend their commitment to Schilling's company. Chaffe cites concerns that Schilling's venture is "High Risk" and claims the EDC did not evaluate "serious proposals" that could benefit Rhode Island.

Independent gubernatorial candidate and former Sen. Lincoln Chafee is asking the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation to reconvene and suspend its commitment to Schilling’s company, 38 Studios LLC, until the board goes through a public process soliciting proposals from other companies that might flourish in Rhode Island.

Chaffe brings up a good point; game development can be high risk as we have more than a few failed games and developers to show for it. But if he doesn't consider it a "serious proposal" maybe he should take a look at the gaming industry and see just how big and successful it's become.

State Treasurer and Democratic candidate for governor Frank T. Caprio also voiced his concerns and sent a letter to the EDC outlining modifications that he felt needed to be made to the arrangement with 38 Studios, calling for the state to have equity in the company and the right to attend board meetings.

The political flack could simply be posturing but it could also provide another hurdle for Schilling to overcome.

Thanks to Annatar for the tip.

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