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If 38 Studios collapses, Rhode Island taxpayers owe $112.6 million


With Rhode Island politicians and 38 Studios silent on the precarious financial condition of the developer, the potential cost of the doomsday scenario to taxpayers has come to light. WPRI reports that if 38 Studios can't pay the bonds it received from the state, taxpayers will actually be responsible for paying back $112.6 million through 2020.

The math works a little something this this: The Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation borrowed $75 million from private investors for 38 Studios, at interest rates between 6 - 7.75 percent, with the expectation that 38 Studios would pay it back with the sale of games.

For the record, 38 Studios has only launched one product, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, which it only had due to its acquisition of developer Big Huge Games. Big Huge Games was already working on an RPG prior to the sale, but altered it to fit the Amalur world after the purchase.

If 38 Studios can't pay, the governor is required to ask the General Assembly to repay bondholders.

Game industry sources tell Joystiq that if 38 Studios does collapse, despite this specific deal having been widely criticized from the start, it could have wider repercussions for the industry trying to obtain tax breaks in other states. The silence out of Providence right now is deafening.

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