Anyone interested in a slightly-used MMO?
So things aren't going well for 38 Studios. The Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning developer owes the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation some $50 million dollars, not including interest. According to a report that surfaced earlier this week, the developer was forced to fire all its temp and contract workers in order to scrounge up enough money to pay off an overdue $1.125 million loan payment. If things get worse, the studio may be forced to start selling off its IPs, including upcoming Kingdom of Amalur MMO spinoff, Project Copernicus. If that's the case, how much would they get for it? Very little, says market analyst, Michael Pachter.
"Nobody is buying MMOs after [Star Wars: The Old Republic] fizzled," he said. "I think value is low, probably $20 million or so. There is just no demand for game assets right now, as THQ proved when it tried to sell the Warhammer MMO. I think [Electronic Arts] could step in, since they are the publisher, so you might see some alternative way to get [38 Studios] some bridge financing."
THQ, which is also facing a bit of a cash flow problem, stated it was actively looking for a partner to help fund its Warhammer 40K MMO back in February. Unfortunately, despite the appeal of the license material, no one was willing to pony up the cash. THQ eventually had to fire some 100 staff and announce that the game was being rejigged into a single player title with limited online multiplayer.
There's been some speculation that EA, who published Amalur, might step in and help fund Project Copernicus, a speculation that EA corporate communications vice president, Jeff Brown, insists is groundless.
"Nope--never been an announcement on that," he told Joystiq. "We don't have any new announcements to make regarding 38 Studios. We enjoyed working with [38 Studios founder Curt Schilling] and his team on their first game, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Like game fans all over the world, we look forward to what 38 Studios creates next."