Put it all on 38?
States, including Rhode Island, are smart to market themselves and offer incentives to businesses. The deal with 38 Studios is coming in for praise and criticism, to be sure. Gamers have their opinions, with the optimism based on the all-star cast of gameworld creators–R.A. Salvatore, Todd McFarlane and Ken Rolston–while the pessimists basically think the game will be just one more World of Warcraft “me too” that is destined to fall by the wayside (though some think that an MMO of a different flavor–ie; not “fantasy”–is might work.
The business community is split, too, with skeptics pointing out that the funds would have been better used if spread out or at least not spent on one seemingly risky venture. Others make the point that the splash made by the deal has already caused increased business interest in RI and that there are protections to mitigate risk.
Part of the confusion probably lay in the nature of the business in question. I wonder if there would be as much reservation if this was a business that was selling or producing a tangible product? The truth is we just don’t know what exactly to expect from a video game company. It’s a relatively new industry and, let’s face it, most of the business media and non-related business leaders around here just don’t really know much about video games. So, until 38 Studios actually produces a product and the prospect of other video game companies coming to RI goes from potential to reality, we’re not going to know if the deal pays off, either directly or indirectly. Until then, it’s simply a gamble.