Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning needed to sell three million copies just to break even, Rhode Island government Lincoln Chafee told reporters today during a press conference about the game studio run by Curt Schilling that has all but collapsed.
"The game failed," Chafee said. "The game failed." Chafee was struggling to explain to reporters how 38 Studios, a company founded by a star ballplayer and wooed by the state with multi-million dollar loans could suddenly turn into the poster-child for government-financed debacles (read all about the sad 38 Studios saga). What would have spared the company? Chafee: "The experts are saying in the three million range just to break even."
Chafee's press conference kicked off late afternoon with the governor and his lieutenants seemingly unaware that all employees of 38 and its affiliate Big Huge Games were laid off today.
"If the company's not going to be profitable and can't give us the confidence [it can get] on solid footing, then we have to deal with the ramifications," Chafee said. "Industry experts tell us this is very, very expensive and it's not only the cost of producing the game, but then maintaining it once it's released, and then tens of millions of dollars to market it. I think the Red Sox lost Babe Ruth because the owner invested in a play called No No Nannette. And the play failed and he had to sell Babe Ruth. This is very very similar. The game failed. That was integral to the success of the company."
Chafee claims he was hands-off with 38 and understood them to be in fine financial shape as recently as last month before things went sour. His team said today that in discussions with Schilling yesterday, layoffs were not discussed.
To express how far he kept from 38, Chafee adde: "I didn't meddle. if I did meddle there wouldn't be all this violence. All this horrible sexism in games."