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Sony Boss Blames Gov Chafee for 38 Studios Failure

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Sony Online Entertainment (SOE) president John Smedley blames Governor Lincoln Chafee for Curt Schilling's failed 38 Studios video game company.

Smedley said Schilling approached him numerous times regarding "Kingdoms of Amalur: Project Copernicus," which was to be the first game produced by 38 Studios in Rhode Island. (Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning," was created prior to the move to Rhode Island. Praised by the gaming press, it received a Metacritic.com score of 81 out of 100). Smedley unleashed on Chafee and defended Schilling via a series of Tweets on Monday.

Smedley said Schilling approached SOE for funding prior to the now infamous Rhode Island loan. He liked Schilling's idea, as evidenced by a recent series of tweets, but the money was a problem for SOE.
"The quality was undeniable. It was gorgeous. It had smart people working on it. It was just too expensive is all," Smedley said. "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."

John Smedley, Sony Online Entertainment

However, he believes the game - and the studio - could have succeeded if not for improper state funding. 

"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."
He respects Schilling for investing his now money in the company, but said "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."
"The idea of suing someone when Chaffe's (sic) 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."


Related Slideshow: Is Clay Pell the Next Lincoln Chafee?

Privileged bloodlines, prestigious prep schools, lofty political ambitions.  Is Clay Pell the next Lincoln Chafee?  

Below is a look at the similarities -- and differences -- between Governor Lincoln Chafee  and likely gubernatorial aspirant Clay Pell.  

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Family Legacy - Chafee

Lincoln Chafee is the son of John Chafee, the former Governor of Rhode Island, U.S. Senator, and Secretary of the Navy, who was a decorated WWII and Korean War Veteran, and posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  

Named in his honor include the USS Chafee (DDG-90), the John H. Chafee Blackstone River Valley National Heritage Corridor and the John H. Chafee National Wildlife Refuge.

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Family Legacy - Pell

Grandfather Claiborne Pell was Rhode Island's longest serving Senator, having served six terms from 1961 to 1997, whose legacy includes the Pell Grant, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  

A decorated coast guard lieutenant in WWII and foreign service officer, Pell's Rhode Island legacy includes the Newport Bridge being renamed the Claiborne Pell Bridge, as well as the Pell Center of International Relations and Public Policy established at Salve Regina University.

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Money - Chafee

Both Chafees and Senator Pell had to disclose as members of the U.S. Senate personal financial information -- and both a considerable net worth.  

The U.S. Senate is known as the U.S. Millionaires Club -- in 2005, while Chafee was still in the Senate, Open Secrets pegged Chafee's wealth at between $40 and $63 million dollars.  

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Money - Pell

In a Time piece entitled "The New Limousine Liberals", the magazine pegged grandfather Pell's net worth at $12.7 million -- in 1992.  

The website Celebrity Net Worth puts wife Michelle Kwan's personal wealth at $8 million. 

While Pell's first campaign finance report has yet to be made public, records show Pell gave Democratic challenger Gina Raimondo $250 during her bid for General Treasurer in 2010.  

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Education - Chafee

Chafee was educated public schools in Warwick, and attended private schools Providence Country Day, and Phillips Academy before graduating from Brown University.  

Chafee then attended the Montana State University in the horseshoeing school.

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Education - Pell

Pell attended the private boarding Thacher School in California for high school, graduating in 2000.  The school's noted equestrian and outdoor programs require that students ride and care for a horse during their first year.  Current tuition is over $50,000
Pell, a JAG who graduated first in his class from Coast Guard Direct Commission Officer School, has a JD from Georgetown University and graduated from Harvard University with high honors in Social Studies and a Citation in Modern Standard Arabic. 
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Early Career -- Chafee

Chafee served as a delegate to the Rhode Island Constitutional Convention in 1985, and was elected to the Warwick City Council the following year.  

He was Warwick's mayor in 1992 until 1999, when he was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1999 when his father passed away while in office.

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Early Career -- Pell

Named to the 2011-2012 class of White House Fellows, Pell served as Director for Strategic Planning on the National Security Staff prior to his appointment by President Obama as Deputy Assistant Secretary for International and Foreign Language Education last April.

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Wife - Chafee

Chafee's wife, Stephanie Danforth Chafee, holds a B.S. in Nursing from Boston University, an MBA from the University of Connecticut, and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Rhode Island, helped found the Rhode Island Free Clinic in South Providence, and was featured as one of the ‘25 Models of Promise’ in Shirley Sagawa’s The American Way to Change. 
Mrs. Chafee was a co-founder of Women Ending Hunger and has served on advisory boards for Miriam Hospital, Rhode Island Hospital, the Rhode Island Zoological Society and the Rhode Island Foundation.  Last April, she was recognized as one of the YWCA Rhode Island's Women of Achievement.
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Wife - Pell

A decorated Olympic figure skater and world champion, Michelle Kwan went on to pursue a career in public service, serving as an American Public Diplomacy Envoy as well as on the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports -- and was recently inducted into the U.S. Figure Skating Hall of Fame.


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Not especially surprised to learn that the Scarecrow (a.k.a.) Gov. Chafee had a hand in the demise of 38 Studios. It seems fairly apparent he was more intent on telling the voters; "I told you so" than trying to help this business survive and preserve a lot of good paying jobs.

How many days left before he goes back to shoeing horses?

Comment #1 by Walter Miller on 2014 02 11

If it was such a great game why didn’t Smedley buy the rights to it on the cheap? To my knowledge, no one bought it as part of the bankruptcy proceedings.

Smedley cannot say that the state should never had invested in the video game, and then turn around and say that all Shilling needed was more funding.

Comment #2 by Johnny cakes on 2014 02 11

Listen, I'm no Chafee fan, but come on now. This guy wouldn't touch it, neither would any venture capitalist, and he's blaming Chafee? If the state invested anymore money, we would have been paying that back too. I call complete B.S. The game was so good...What did they get for everything 800K?

Comment #3 by Stephen DeNinno on 2014 02 11

As Don Carcieri said ""I commend the RIEDC Board for its EXTENSIVE DUE DILIGENCE and for taking this significant step to bring jobs to Rhode Island," Don Carcieri THE MAN WITH THE VETO PEN said the night the agency approved the loan to Carcieri's fellow conservative Republican Curt Schilling.


Rhode Island's director of revenue said she "was not in favor" of the 38 Studios deal and and expressed those concerns DIRECTLY to then-Gov. Don Carcieri.
Gov. Carcieri still won't face taxpayers despite the stunning implosion of the $100+ million dollar loan guarantee he got them to give Curt Schilling's video game company,
Sammy in Arizona

Never forget that Mr Hollywood Ronald Reagan, sold some of our
most sophisticated weapons to the conservatives in Iran, (Iran-Contra Scandal) then funneled the cash to the Contras, a right-wing terrorist group who's tactics included murder, rape, beatings and kidnapping.
Both the arms sale to Iran, and the money laundering were felonies at the time, and still are today

Comment #4 by Sammy Arizona on 2014 02 11

Shilling could have invested his multi-millions and lived an extremely comfortable lifestyle. But because of who and what he is, he wanted to be a billionaire and move in those circles.

This is a man who is as right-wing and reactionary as they come - just like his buddy Carcieri. He was a guy quick to condemn those in need as “looking for handouts” - except when his hand was out and in the pocket of taxpayers. This is exactly what people like him are about.

I hope he has learned something; although I doubt it.

Comment #5 by Johnny cakes on 2014 02 11

"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."

Really? Very unprofessional and total disrespect for an elected RI official.

Comment #6 by Stephen Maciel on 2014 02 11

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