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Today in Depressing Auctions: Want to Own the Last Remaining Assets of 38 Studios? [UPDATED]

All the equipment previously owned by the now-defunct developer is up for sale. Including Xbox 360 XDK units?

UPDATE: Joystiq grabbed a quote from Microsoft, and SURPRISE, they aren't exactly stoked about their property showing up in this auction.

"Xbox 360 Development Kits (XDK) are the property of Microsoft and are only licensed to authorized studios and may not be assigned or sold to any third party without the written consent of Microsoft," the company told Joystiq in a prepared statement. "We will be contacting the appropriate parties involved in the auction of 38 Studios' assets to remove the XDK units from the auction listing and to secure the return of the consoles to Microsoft."

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For sale: One video game developer, gently used.

It's been a while since we heard much about the 38 Studios debacle, mostly because there's hardly anything left of 38 Studios to even talk about. Developers have moved onto new studios and projects, Curt Schilling has seemingly holed himself up in a as-yet-undiscovered anti-press bunker, and the state of Rhode Island has been culling through the whole mess, looking for ways to make its money back on the ill-conceived loan the state gave the studio.

One way is to apparently auction off the entire inventory of computers, desks, audio equipment, and consoles, among other things, that once belonged to 38. Auction site SJ Corio Company lists the entire kit and caboodle as going up in two separate auctions--one in Maryland and one in Rhode Island--on October 12 and October 23, respectively.

Most of the items up for auction are the typical stuff you'd find in an office auction. Lots of TVs, conference equipment, phones, security equipment, and whatnot. However, one odd little detail in the Maryland auction is the apparent inclusion of Xbox 360 XDK units. In case you were wondering, those are Xbox 360 development kits, which, uh, I don't think you're supposed to sell? My understanding had always been that, technically, those units are licensed to developers, but aren't actually owned by the developer. So that might be a slight issue.

Otherwise, this is just kind of a fitting, sad, bizarre end to what has been one of the more depressing stories in our industry over the last few years. I wish I had some funny, off-color remark to bring the mood up a bit here, but I don't. I'm just sad now. Sigh...

Alex Navarro on Google+
95 Comments
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Posted by I_Stay_Puft

Can I buy Curt Schilling's ego?

Posted by bones360uk

is it wrong i saw the storage wars picture and got excited?

Posted by SpaceRunaway

Well, the MD auction is only an hour and a half away from me so, um, maybe?

Posted by ajamafalous

Curt Schilling has been on ESPN several times, as recently as like a week or two ago.

Posted by jerseyscum

Might be a fantastic way to pick up some decent 2nd hand gaming PC's. I'm kind of bummed I can't check this auction out in person. Keep in mind that this is a goddamn firesale. If you're a musician trying to score recording gear or a student filmmaker looking for editing equipment, you need to check this out. Vinny's probably booking a flight now to score HDMI cables at rock bottom prices. I could use a new desk myself.

Posted by RenMcKormack

"Lookie here! Rich Gallup's Hat! that's a fifty-dollar bill all day long" - Fat Guy in tank top on Storage Wars

(THIS JOKE IS IN BAD TASTE)

Posted by kerse

I figured Microsoft would jump on those xdks pretty quick, wonder if there was enough time for anyone to get one yet.

Posted by pwnmachine

That's the wow factor!

Looks like I see some tools and a tile saw!

Posted by Zleunamme

Would Duders buy or spend more money from the auction if items used by Rich Gallup came with a certificate of authenticity?

Posted by thatdutchguy
@rentfn: lol   :D
Posted by thatdutchguy
@RenMcKormack:  YEEEP !! 
Posted by chiablo

GiantBomb should fly out to the auction and see if they can get their hands on some gaming history.

Posted by GunsAreDrawn

good ridance

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Posted by goatmilk

It's not that hard to get your hands on an XDK. Still, wonder if we'll see any interesting stuff come out of this.

Posted by DiGiTaL_SiN

How much for one Rich Gallup?

Posted by RoyCampbell

THAT EQUIPMENT IS CURSED I TELL YA

Posted by ch3burashka

@DiGiTaL_SiN said:

How much for one Rich Gallup?

Rhode Island is holding onto that investment. That's pure blue chip, baby.

Posted by vinsanityv22

So, are the rights for KoA: Reckoning up for sale now? Because, c'mon - it's not like Rhode Island will ever make a sequel. I'd like to see someone snap that up. Perhaps Ubi Soft; they don't have a big RPG franchise, although they do possess Might & Magic.

That's all I care about. I wonder if anyone will purchase the rights to Kingdoms of Amalur and, maybe, the work done on Copernicus. If someone is looking to get into the MMO Space, a 60% complete one has got to seem attractive...

Posted by Delta_Ass

Don't forget to pay the lady!

Posted by Karkarov

Man a whole lot of people on this website seem to not understand what the words "woefully miss managed" means. To sum up, this is what I meant. If the people in charge had done their job and maintained a proper business and expense model the 1.4 million sales would have turned a profit. 38 studios didn't fail because Amalaur was a bad game or sold poorly (1.4 million isn't poor sales), it failed because the executives had no idea what the hell they were doing and ran the company like crap.

Posted by fox01313

If I had the money I'd buy up all the stuff in this auction then find the people from 38 Studios in whatever new game studios they are working at & give that gear to them there to try to get better use of it.

Posted by Beomoose

@RoyCampbell said:

THAT EQUIPMENT IS CURSED I TELL YA

but it comes with your choice of topping!

Posted by RoyCampbell
@Beomoose: Pepperoni flavored telephones and conference tables with extra olive is NOT worth the hauntings.
 
Well almost. If the TVs can be mounted and come with extra cheese, I'll reconsider my position.
Edited by paulwade1984

Thanks Alex. I'll sleep better at night now that I know Microsoft are getting their xdk kits back.

Posted by Ghostiet

@Karkarov said:

I have to wonder why it went this badly? Amalaur didn't sell that poorly did it? I can't help but think the business was just massively miss managed.

Someone up there had the idea to hire R.A. Salvatore to do the story and Todd MacFarlane to do the art design. Both delivered something that an intern could handle for a cup of coffee. Imagine how much cash was trashed to these two surnames alone. And I don't think the people that actually designed the project and game had any say in that.

Posted by Snail

@Chtasm said:

If anything, they had a sick-ass logo.

Not really. It's more likely to look like "30 Studios" to anyone who doesn't know the company name.

Posted by pw2566ch

I wonder how much it cost 38 Studios to purchase those XDK units. And Microsoft is still claiming it belongs to them. *Sigh*, licensing agreements at their finest.

Posted by Hailinel
@pw2566ch

I wonder how much it cost 38 Studios to purchase those XDK units. And Microsoft is still claiming it belongs to them. *Sigh*, licensing agreements at their finest.

38 Studios didn't buy them. They paid a licensing fee to use them. Microsoft is in the right to ask that those kits are returned.
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Posted by teh_destroyer

@ckeats said:

I'd buy that sign.

I was thinking about that too.

Posted by BlastProcessing

Holy fuck that thumbnail got me laughing so hard.

Posted by MetalBaofu

@Ghostiet said:

@Karkarov said:

I have to wonder why it went this badly? Amalaur didn't sell that poorly did it? I can't help but think the business was just massively miss managed.

Someone up there had the idea to hire R.A. Salvatore to do the story and Todd MacFarlane to do the art design. Both delivered something that an intern could handle for a cup of coffee. Imagine how much cash was trashed to these two surnames alone. And I don't think the people that actually designed the project and game had any say in that.

Personally, I think they just wasted far too much time and money developing that MMO, and Amalur didn't do well enough for them to be able to keep paying their employees and pay on the loan, or whatever, they had gotten from the state.

Posted by Kraznor

I know Rich Gallup worked there and that kind of makes this hit close to home for Giant Bomb fans but...isn't this story basically "poorly managed company fails, loses assets"? A fantasy-themed MMO in a post-WoW world? "What were they thinking?" springs to mind as a pertinent question.

It came as a shock months ago largely due to how quickly it happened, but now that the dust has settled it seems clear Schilling wasn't cut out to manage this kind of project and really dropped the ball, pun most definitely intended. Calling it the most tragic thing to hit the industry seems a bit hyperbolic, does it not?

Posted by pw2566ch

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch

I wonder how much it cost 38 Studios to purchase those XDK units. And Microsoft is still claiming it belongs to them. *Sigh*, licensing agreements at their finest.

38 Studios didn't buy them. They paid a licensing fee to use them. Microsoft is in the right to ask that those kits are returned.

Well, that's pretty much what I meant with that last sentence.

Posted by Hailinel

@pw2566ch said:

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch

I wonder how much it cost 38 Studios to purchase those XDK units. And Microsoft is still claiming it belongs to them. *Sigh*, licensing agreements at their finest.

38 Studios didn't buy them. They paid a licensing fee to use them. Microsoft is in the right to ask that those kits are returned.

Well, that's pretty much what I meant with that last sentence.

It sounds more or less like you're unhappy that Microsoft should get them back.

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Posted by pw2566ch

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch said:

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch

I wonder how much it cost 38 Studios to purchase those XDK units. And Microsoft is still claiming it belongs to them. *Sigh*, licensing agreements at their finest.

38 Studios didn't buy them. They paid a licensing fee to use them. Microsoft is in the right to ask that those kits are returned.

Well, that's pretty much what I meant with that last sentence.

It sounds more or less like you're unhappy that Microsoft should get them back.

At least pay some money for them or something. I'm not saying Microsoft shouldn't get the equipment back, but c'mon now. There's some money owed to Rhode Island. Throw them a bone.

Posted by xombi242

Seeing all of these studios closing down makes me wonder how many of these XDK units are out in the wild unclaimed.

Posted by Hailinel

@pw2566ch said:

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch said:

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch

I wonder how much it cost 38 Studios to purchase those XDK units. And Microsoft is still claiming it belongs to them. *Sigh*, licensing agreements at their finest.

38 Studios didn't buy them. They paid a licensing fee to use them. Microsoft is in the right to ask that those kits are returned.

Well, that's pretty much what I meant with that last sentence.

It sounds more or less like you're unhappy that Microsoft should get them back.

At least pay some money for them or something. I'm not saying Microsoft shouldn't get the equipment back, but c'mon now. There's some money owed to Rhode Island. Throw them a bone.

Rhode Island has no legal claim to those kits, though. Microsoft should not be forced to pay money to reclaim property that is rightfully theirs.

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Posted by pw2566ch

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch said:

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch said:

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch

I wonder how much it cost 38 Studios to purchase those XDK units. And Microsoft is still claiming it belongs to them. *Sigh*, licensing agreements at their finest.

38 Studios didn't buy them. They paid a licensing fee to use them. Microsoft is in the right to ask that those kits are returned.

Well, that's pretty much what I meant with that last sentence.

It sounds more or less like you're unhappy that Microsoft should get them back.

At least pay some money for them or something. I'm not saying Microsoft shouldn't get the equipment back, but c'mon now. There's some money owed to Rhode Island. Throw them a bone.

Rhode Island has no legal claim to those kits, though. Microsoft should not be forced to pay money to reclaim property that is rightfully theirs.

So legally, they can claim all of the games that I have purchased from them?

Posted by Hailinel
@pw2566ch You don't seem to understand that to sell and to license aren't nearly the same thing.
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Posted by pw2566ch

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch You don't seem to understand that to sell and to license aren't nearly the same thing.

Apparently publishers don't sell games, from what everyone else says. They license them to us.

Posted by Hailinel

@pw2566ch said:

@Hailinel said:

@pw2566ch You don't seem to understand that to sell and to license aren't nearly the same thing.

Apparently publishers don't sell games, from what everyone else says. They license them to us.

The intellectual property of the game is the property of either the developer or publisher, in most cases. We buy copies of the game for our own personal use. They sell them to us. They do not license them to us. When I buy a game, I am not entering a contractual agreement with the publisher. I can do whatever I like with that game, so long as I'm not breaking any laws (i.e.: Putting it up for people to pirate, using the the disc to murder someone, etc.). If I want, I can sell my copy of a game to a friend, or to a second-hand store, or what-have-you. Point being, when I go on Amazon and buy a copy of Final Fantasy XIII, I am purchasing that copy to own it. In some cases, buying a game may require the use or purchase of an online pass to gain access to all of the features, but I am not obligated to pay a licensing fee to the publisher for continued ownership of the game. Even if it's a subscription-based game like an MMO, if I stop paying that subscription fee, I am not not contractually bound to delete the game from my computer or send anything back to the publisher. The copy of the game on my computer is mine to keep; I'm just not allowed to play it until I start paying for a subscription again.

That is not the same as licensing a piece of development hardware. 38 Studios paid a licensing fee to Microsoft for the privilege of using their dev kits. They did not pay for ownership of them. If 38 Studios no longer wished to pay the licensing fee and had no further need of the kits, then they were contractually obligated to return them to Microsoft. Obviously, because of the shitstorm that went down at the company, sending that hardware back was not at the top of their priority list. Probably because whoever had that responsibility was laid off.

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Posted by retsub101

Sure i'll buy something. How much for the box of hopes & dreams? Maybe I could use it as a door stop.

Posted by EndlessLotus

Now watch the XDK units go missing....

Posted by MrSpaceMan

bidding!