38 Studios Execs Leave, Employees Unpaid Since May 1
The situation at 38 Studios continues to worsen, it seems. Yesterday, more details regarding the Curt Schilling-owned developer’s downward spiral came to light: Jennifer MacLean, the company’s CEO, updated her LinkedIn profile to show that she had left the company in March, reports Joystiq. Senior vice president of product development John Blakely also revised his online resume to show that he’d left 38 Studios this month.
Moreover, that same Joystiq post also reports that employees hadn’t been paid since as early as May 1, confirming reports from last week that the company couldn’t make payroll. In addition, health insurance has run out, and layoffs reportedly continue.
Worse still, no one has stepped up to the plate in terms of providing additional investments in the company, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee has said. The IP of Kingdoms of Amalur, the first and only game 38 Studios has made, has been valued at about $20 million by industry analyst Michael Pachter, says another post on Joystiq.
“Nobody is buying MMOs after Star Wars fizzled. I think value is low, probably $20 million or so,” Pachter is quoted as saying, referring to the contracting subscription base for Star Wars: The Old Republic, as well as the in-development Amalur MMO, codenamed “Project Copernicus.” “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 some bridge financing.”
Of course, Electronic Arts has made no public overture about wanting to buy the studio or the IP itself. Should 38 Studios cease operations, the taxpayers of Rhode Island would wind up paying off the $75 million loan (plus calculated interest) through 2020, but would have the $20 million IP as an asset that could potentially alleviate some of the burden.
Of course, something is only as valuable as someone else is willing to pay for it. And if no one’s buying, then the world of Amalur isn’t worth that much at all…