SOE's John Smedley blames Rhode Island government for 38 Studios closure

Eliot Lefebvre
E. Lefebvre|02.11.14

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SOE's John Smedley blames Rhode Island government for 38 Studios closure
Once we find the correct Blame Target, don't worry, everything will be keen.
So who's at fault for the 38 Studios debacle? It's a question that's been thrown around a lot with no clear answers. But John Smedley of Sony Online Entertainment thinks that it's a pretty clear case of the state of Rhode Island getting involved in something it shouldn't have and then backing out at the worst possible time. He stated on Twitter that having seen the game himself, it had potential and it could have been something if it had actually made it to release.

Smedley agrees with Governor Lincoln Chafee that the funding deal was a bad idea and should never have taken place, but once it had taken place, it was in the state's best interest to aid the studio rather than letting it fail. Chafee's comments and naysaying for the project doomed the chances of the game getting any additional funding, ultimately shuttering the studio altogether. Despite that, Smedley also notes that in the long run it was a bad idea that should never have taken place and that SOE was approached for funding on the game and declined, which he suggests should have been indication enough for Rhode Island not to make the deal.

[We've updated the title to make utterly clear that of course we (and Smed) were talking about the government of Rhode Island, not some random people in Rhode Island, many of whom obviously did not vote for said government. After the break, we've also quoted the relevant tweets, among them the one in which Smed declares that but for Chafee's actions, we'd be playing the game right now.]
I agree with the Governor about not wanting good money after bad but that wasn't the case here at all.

I should also make it clear that I'm not defending how 38 Studios was managed. Just tired of seeing attacks without the facts.

I had the good fortune of seeing the game. It looked great. If that idiot Governor Chafee hadn't trash talked

right at the time Curt was trying to get funding you would be playing the game now

Curt is an honest guy with good intentions. Although public money should never have guaranteed a winner or loser

Curt's only crime was believing in his own ability to will things to be better. He busted ass trying to get funding

Funny thing is even though he came to us many times for money and we didn't do a deal, I really wanted to play that game.

Dear people of Rhode Island. Look to your elected government for failing to protect you. That 38 studios deal just never should have been.

Public funds shouldn't be backing risky things like online games. If the fact that no other VCs were investing wasn't enough of a clue

Then you damn well shouldn't be surprised by failure.

anyone with a brain could have told them no one would buy it. They contacted us and I told them so.

The idea of suing someone when Chaffe's own comments were what poisoned the well at the end is beyond the pale.

All he had to do was give Curt another week and we wouldn't be here today.

not that the IP isn't awesome. It's just not strong without the people making it

at various times we looked at it. Always impressed. But the economics were too tough to make work for us. This is a business where

risks are large. We had enough balls in the air. More risk was too much for us. I also felt that too much was spent

but the quality was undeniable. It was gorgeous. It had smart people working on it. It was just too expensive is all.

Curt put every dime he had into it. That's the part that people are missing. He put his own money where his mouth was.

but that's ultimately what undid it. Unqualified people at that Rhode Island economic council should have seen

the fact that no one else would get in as a sign and they failed. That's not Curt'a fault.
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