November 20, 2013 in Gaming News
Around two dozen parties from around the world are interested in bidding on the various 38 Studios/Big Huge Games IP and technology up for auction next month, including “well-known industry figures,” according to an executive at auction organizer Global Heritage Partners.
None of the interested parties were named outright in the Associated Press report.
The auction will be held via telephone on December 11 and bids are due by December 4. Proceeds will go to the state of Rhode Island, which assumed ownership of the franchises when 38 Studios and subsidiary Big Huge Games went bankrupt last year.
Included in the auction are MMO Project Copernicus, sequel rights to Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and various IP rights for Big Huge Games franchises, including Rise of Nations, Rise of Legends, Catan, and the recently discovered Rise of Nations: Tactics.
Proprietary game technology–the Big Huge Games Engine–as well as 38 Studios’ social media and development platform Helios are also up for auction.
Electronic Arts published the 2012 original Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning in February 2012 through its EA Partners Program. EA Labels president Frank Gibeau said last summer following 38 Studios’ bankruptcy that the company would “love” to publish the sequel.
Executive vice president at Global Heritage Partners Nick Jimenez told the Associated Press that would-be bidders are from North America, Europe, and Asia. Some of these parties have expressed interest in buying everything together, while others are looking to pick up specific assets individually.
Jimenez declined to estimate the value of the 38 Studios/Big Huge Games auction. Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said previously that MMO Copernicus could fetch $20 million.
The Rhode Island Economic Development Corp. (RIEDC) lured 38 Studios from Massachusetts to Rhode Island in 2010 with a controversial $75 million loan guarantee. After 38 Studios folded last summer, the RIEDC sued founder Curt Schilling and other architects of the loan, alleging fraud, negligence, and breach of fiduciary duty.
The state further claims that the defendants knew they would run out of money, but withheld this information. The defendants refute these claims and the case is ongoing.
Rhode Island is now on the hook for around $90 million related to the deal.
Governor Lincoln Chafee, who was a vocal opponent of the original deal as a gubernatorial candidate in 2010, told WPRI that though he is intent on paying back the bonds, he understands voters’ thoughts on the matter.
“Obviously nobody really wants to be on the hook for that dumb decision that was made by the previous administration,” Chafee said. However, he said failing to repay the bonds, “would have ramifications for years and years.”
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