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Curt Schilling’s video game company gives bad check to Rhode Island

May 17, 2012, 8:15 PM EDT

AP Curt Schilling AP

Remember how we heard earlier this week that Curt Schilling’s video game company, 38 Studios, was going through some rough times? Well, things are looking even more dire now.

According to Erika Niedowski and Laura Crimaldi of the Associated Press, 38 Studios tried to pass off a bad $1.1 million check to Rhode Island as payment on a loan. Yikes.

38 Studios was originally based in Massachusetts, but Rhode Island lured the company in 2010 with a $75 million loan guarantee that they hoped would bring new jobs to the state. Things haven’t exactly worked out as planned. Schilling’s company couldn’t make the $1.1 million payment on May 1 as expected and after the check was finally hand-delivered to the state’s Economic Development Corp. earlier this evening, a company official told the agency that there were insufficient funds to cover the owed amount.

38 Studios asked for additional state assistance yesterday and it appears that if they can’t get a loan from someone, they could go belly-up pretty soon.

  1. randygnyc - May 17, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Knowingly submitting a check for payment, with insufficient funds, is a felony in many states. Anyone know about Rhode Island?

    • D.J. Short - May 17, 2012 at 8:51 PM

      Definitely possible, but not my area of expertise.

    • ptfu - May 17, 2012 at 9:05 PM

      Does it matter if the company admits its check will bounce before the state deposits it? When they admit that up front, it’s hard to tell how much deception they were using. I still don’t get why they even wrote the check if they knew they were going to admit insufficient funds at the same time.

    • ejannetta - May 18, 2012 at 1:41 AM

      It is a Felony in Rhode Island

      • ballistictrajectory - May 18, 2012 at 9:05 AM

        It’s a felony unless you know someone, then it’s just a slap on the back and another round at the local fine dining establishment.

  2. bigleagues - May 17, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    I’ll speculate that ultimately we will hear that Schilling was in the process of transferring personal funds to cover the check.

    I don’t don’t know for sure if its a felony in RI, but I have to imagine that it is.

    I’m more curious to know if there is a $25 fee for a returned check. Got to be bigger on $1.1 Mil doesn’t it?

  3. nesuperfan - May 17, 2012 at 8:51 PM

    Why would anyone back this company in the first place with public funds…because baseball players know SOOO much about coding???

    • recoveringcubsfan - May 18, 2012 at 4:45 AM

      He lured some of the guys who made Oblivion over for his first game title. That’s a decent talent pool to back.

    • djpostl - May 18, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      Probably as much iof a “stick it to Mass. by getting their big WS heroes company here” kind of thing

  4. randygnyc - May 17, 2012 at 8:58 PM

    I’m assuming the only thing schilling knows about video games is how to play them. Meaning, he’s just the face of the company. Probably made very little of his own investment too. He’s the guy who shows up at meetings, shakes hands, poses for pictures, then shuts the hell up during meetings, but signs the papers and collects the checks.

    • yankeesgameday - May 17, 2012 at 9:19 PM

      This is pretty much right, randy. In gaming circles the folks the company hired were considered some of the best in the field. This company isn’t dying because they hired bad talent or because a baseball player owns it. It Is failing because of the oversaturation of the video game market with playable quality titles like warcraft, everquest, rift and new games like Tera hold onto their market share.

      What they discoverd was that just like a Hollywood movie the biggest part of your budget isn’t the cast, actors or vfx: it us P&A, Publicity and Advertising.

      Without at least a 20 million dollar marketing campaign you can’t launch a movie it a video game. I play the kinds of MMOs shilling was developing and I promise you that I only saw one banner ad for it on a gaming website.

      You want to make money with that game you need to market your ass off in America, northern Europe, Australia, China, Korea and Japan. They didn’t invest the funds in P & A. It’s just that simple.

      • evanhartford - May 18, 2012 at 12:22 PM

        I couldn’t agree more. I don’t think I saw one Banner Ad or anything regarding the game. Does it have a launch date? Has it already launched?

        I read some of Schilling’s “video” game blogging on his website a while back. When I heard him talking about the GOAT baseball games of the past, it became apparent that he wasn’t THAT knowledgable about video games. For instance, when talking about the greatest baseball video games of all time, he BARELY mentioned RBI Baseball or Bases Loaded, never mentioned Tommy LaSorda Baseball or Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball, and didn’t make mention of the MLB 2004 / 2005 franchise. My takeaways from his post was that he had played video games but on a much more casual level than someone that would proclaim themselves a “gamer”. His knowledge was very limited and he seemed more impressed by minute details (like player numbers being correct) than much more important stuff, like replay value and the overall multiplayer experience.

        I would think that if someone is going to be successful at running a video game company, they have to live and breath video games. Schilling hardly lives and breathes video games…

    • Utley's Hair - May 17, 2012 at 9:36 PM

      Schilling? Shuts the hell up during meetings?

  5. AlohaMrHand - May 17, 2012 at 9:14 PM

    Curt Dykstra?

    • cleverbob - May 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      At least he hasn’t stiffed any prostitutes yet. That we know of…

  6. kiwicricket - May 17, 2012 at 9:19 PM

    Cut the guy some slack. Who here has hasn’t passed a dud million dollar check or two…

  7. randygnyc - May 17, 2012 at 9:34 PM

    I don’t play video games, but I see big games titles like gears of war and those shooting combat games advertised every 5 minutes on every channel. You’d think that whomever they hired to handle marketing would know what type of funds are necessary to get this game not peoples consoles. This would explain the loans/financing. Schilling on the other hand, will only lose what remains of his reputation and his corner office.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 18, 2012 at 10:30 AM

      It’s a shame, because I really enjoy playing Kingdoms of Amalur it’s a nice blend of Fable and Elder Scrolls.

  8. dirtyharry1971 - May 17, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    HAHAHAHA how funny is this? Now lets put the jerk in jail where he belongs

  9. randygnyc - May 17, 2012 at 9:40 PM

    Utley, improbable right? But still, prudent.

  10. nepo784 - May 17, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Come on loudmouth, don’t have much to say now do you?!? Deadbeat thief. Damn well better be felony charges for this clown

  11. pellypell - May 17, 2012 at 9:56 PM

    Staunch Republican against handouts.

    • xmatt0926x - May 18, 2012 at 1:29 AM

      Got a good chuckle out of that one Pelly. Right on the money. Schilling stands against “Obama Socialism” and free handouts yet he sure is begging for one himself. We’re all hypocrites at times but he’s a pretty big one right about now.

    • verytalldad - May 18, 2012 at 6:35 AM

      Well then your not a republican. The funny thing about the GOP is they talk conservative, but when in power they spend more and hire more government workers than Obama and Clinton.

      Sadly, the GOP voter is too gullible to see how fooled they are every election (just cant quit you!!!)

      If Romney wins, you will see an explosion in government hiring (unlike Obama) because that will actually lower the unemployment rate. Isnt that ironic, GOP blasts Obama for high unemployment, but every GOP President in past 30 years has used government jobs to keep unemployment low.

      Every republican is RINO.

  12. stairwayto7 - May 17, 2012 at 10:46 PM

    Why don’t ESPN report this? oh wait…

  13. jwbiii - May 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    Not much to see here. Nobody’s going to jail. Just another dot com bankruptcy. It’s bad for the creditors, as always, but oddly enough, Rhode Island has less to gain by taking them to court, since it seems like they’re going to get all or most of the carcass anyway.

  14. chrisr9040 - May 18, 2012 at 12:07 AM

    Gotta love another tea party Republican railing against public spending, entitlement programs, and the deficit, only to ask for some white-collar welfare. What a joke.

    And I’m a Red Sox fan.

  15. rondo1260 - May 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM

    Sell the bloody sock to Todd McFarlane.

  16. sincitybonobo - May 18, 2012 at 12:19 AM

    “Most guys who don’t like me are either Democrats or Yankee fans” -Curt Schilling 01/31/12 Sports Illustrated

    When a blowhard such as 38 fails this spectacularly both in business acumen and philosophical consistency, my inclination toward restraint is suspended.

    The state of RI devoted the majority of an economic development fund to 38 Studios in an effort to lure the company from Massachusetts. Lil Rhody wanted the company in the worst way. Indeed. How many other public infrastructure projects could $75 mil have funded? If 38 Studios was that sound an investment, wouldn’t the private equity markets have been eager to provide seed money?

    As for Schilling, his behavior follows a familiar pattern of “free market” conservatives- an effort to socialize the risks of a venture while keeping any profits private. Companies fail. Most start ups don’t survive. It happens. But Schilling has supported an ideology which has deified the private sector and demonized the ability of the public sector to do much of anything successfully. The lone exception he made to this dogma was when a public entity co-signed for a $75 million dollar loan for 38 Studios with tax dollars.

    I’m guessing Schilling will play less of a prominent role in Sen. Brown’s 2012 campaign. (Note to Warren camp, there is some great video from ’09). I obviously have no sympathy for Schilling. Unfortunately for RI tax payers, this episode will cost them $75,000,000 more than it should have.

    • drewzducks - May 18, 2012 at 1:13 AM

      I thought Warren was dropping out to open up a casino?

      • jayquintana - May 18, 2012 at 1:44 AM


  17. jayquintana - May 18, 2012 at 1:47 AM

    It’s one thing to be a blowhard. It’s another thing to be a blowhard and a hypocrite. Nice work there, Curt!

  18. hiltonandastoria - May 18, 2012 at 2:37 AM

    If anyone cares Shilling got hooked on MMO’s with World of Warcraft, he played a Hunter during the 1st expansion about 4 years ago, not sure if he was alliance or horde.

    lol and now you know

  19. bbil2012 - May 18, 2012 at 9:08 AM

    Look at the bright side Curt. You got the head of the Economic Development Corp. fired so there’s one less government employee. Downsize one person at a time!

  20. ejannetta - May 18, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    Curt is a dirtbag and should be arrested for writing a bad check over $1,000….a felony in Rhode Island. That asswipe has the money, use your own money instead of screwing the taxpayers.

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