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Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios is no more

May 24, 2012, 5:37 PM EDT

Curt Schilling Reuters

Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios, which released its first game to generally positive reviews earlier this year, closed its doors Thursday, laying off its entire staff.

Despite having received a $75 million loan guarantee from Rhode Island, the company failed to stay afloat while trying to develop a large-scale MMO called Copernicus. This despite the fact that the game it released this February, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, sold 1.2 million copies in its first 90 days, according to Schilling.

38 Studios’ future had been uncertain after it missed a scheduled payment to Rhode Island earlier this month. It was later reported that in trying to make a late payment of $1.1 million, the company gave the state a bad check.

Schilling, an avid gamer even during his years in the majors, was hoping Copernicus would make a dent in the lucrative MMO market largely ruled by World of Warcraft. It was to be the first game developed by 38 Studios. Reckoning was developed by Big Huge Games, a company bought by 38 Studios in 2010.

  1. astrosfan75956 - May 24, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Couldn’t have happened to a better person. Ha

    • pisano - May 24, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      You took the words right out of my mouth, I never could stand that mouthy back stabber.

    • titknocker - May 24, 2012 at 11:26 PM

      You’re an idiot 380 employees lost their jobs today and you want to smile about Curt Schilling failing a business venture. I hope you get pink slipped tomorrow.

      • allmyteamsareterrible - May 25, 2012 at 8:09 AM

        Couldn’t agree more, it’s a douchebag statement at best.

  2. El Bravo - May 24, 2012 at 5:45 PM

    Dang, I heard some positive stuff about that game that many other good RPGs (Fallout, Elder Scrolls) don’t do as well (fighting mainly). If they could have stayed afloat for a follow-up release, I bet it would have done very well. Most game sequels take care of the bugs and kinks of the previous iteration, so I bet it would have been quite an improvement (see Mass Effect to ME2 as an example).

    • El Bravo - May 24, 2012 at 5:46 PM

      Plus two RA’s were involved…the only two I know…R.A. Salvatore and R.A. Dickey. How cool is that?

      • bloodysock - May 24, 2012 at 8:31 PM

        R.A Salvatore said ““I’m stunned, and I’m heartbroken. This is one of the best teams I’ve ever seen assembled. They were doing amazing work.”

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - May 24, 2012 at 6:00 PM

      What a shame – I really liked Amalur a lot. They needed to amp their marketing budget by about a trillion, though.

    • xmatt0926x - May 24, 2012 at 6:31 PM

      The thing is that I don’t think there were many bugs or anything generally bad in their first game at all. In every story about the financial mess they always state that the game had “favorable” or “generally positive” reviews but the sites that I read reviews on were extremely favorable. That’s why I was surprised when the whole situation came up a week or so ago as far as the company struggling to pay its bills. Seems like all you can hope for as a game company is to get off to a great start with a well received game and they appear to have done that, yet they have no money. No money to the extent that they struggled to make a million dollar payment which would seem to be a drop in the bucket. I guess they dumped it all into the mmo that they were developing. It looks like Rhode Island is the only real loser here.

  3. marshmallowsnake - May 24, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    I have friends that worked here…and this is just wrong.

    • marshmallowsnake - May 24, 2012 at 7:32 PM

      Good moving giving thumbs down to people losing their jobs.

  4. ezthinking - May 24, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    Typical elephant move, run to the government for money, welsh, lay off folks and then bitch about people receiving unemployment. Too bad the loss doesn’t hit Schilling more personally.

    • sasquash20 - May 24, 2012 at 6:37 PM

      well said

    • Chipmaker - May 24, 2012 at 10:04 PM

      But he created jobs!

      And then destroyed them… but the creation happened!

  5. hiltonandastoria - May 24, 2012 at 5:49 PM

    Back to playing World of Warcraft on his Hunter

  6. randygnyc - May 24, 2012 at 6:06 PM

    As a true conservative, I hate to see govt welfare, be it corporate, or otherwise, regardless, whether the recipients are republican or democrat. Stop stealing money from one group, and giving it to others.

    • Old Gator - May 25, 2012 at 12:55 AM

      I can see you as a kid, watching TV and rooting for the Sheriff of Nottingham.

      Ah well. The theme song sucked, anyway.

      • El Bravo - May 25, 2012 at 9:39 AM

        “YOU KNOW IT’S TRUE! EVERYTHING I DO, I DO IT FOR RANDYGNYC!”

    • 18thstreet - May 25, 2012 at 11:44 AM

      Taxes are not theft.

      And not a word of sympathy for the people who lost their jobs? Classy, Randy. I guess they can go eat Ayn Rand novels.

  7. icanspeel - May 24, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    Where did all the money go if the game sold 1.2 million copies? I know the developer only gets a certain cut of that, but those are decent sale numbers. I bought the game and I guess no more updates for it lol

    • bloodysock - May 24, 2012 at 8:32 PM

      Curious as well. EA was the publisher so I’m guessing they took a decent cut.

    • cleverbob - May 24, 2012 at 9:41 PM

      Just because a company puts out a good product doesn’t mean it has a viable business model.

  8. sincitybonobo - May 24, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    Hopefully, the state will recover at least a portion of this $75 million. I would assume an independent audit has taken place. RI could have given $1 million loan guarantees to 75 companies, effectively spreading the risk. I’m curious if Schilling will be less of an insufferable blowhard as a result of this episode. At the very least, I’m guessing we’ll see less of him on the 2012 campaign trail. Also, I am curious what was Schilling’s salary at this company. He ought to, at the least, disclose this number and return every dime to the Rhode Island treasury.

    • Glenn - May 24, 2012 at 7:39 PM

      I am assuming that they did not get $75 million in loans yet, just a promise for that total into the future.

      • jwbiii - May 24, 2012 at 8:06 PM

        Schilling was pleading for more loans last week, so he already had the full $75M.

      • bloodysock - May 24, 2012 at 8:30 PM

        Rhode Island provided the company about $49 million of the $75 million loan.

  9. chap0904 - May 24, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    So the big mouth “no government spending” republican OWES THE GOVERMENT MONEY HE BORROWED FROM THEM. JERK

  10. Glenn - May 24, 2012 at 7:41 PM

    If Schilling does not repay what it cost the RI taxpayers to support his private venture, then he is a huge hypocrite. Everyone worries about welfare, but it is corporate welfare and breaks for the wealthy that are killing us.

  11. flyerscup2010 - May 24, 2012 at 7:52 PM

    wait, so curt schilling is in the business of taking loans from the government? i seem to recall him flapping his gums about bailouts (aka loans from the government) in 2008 while he was singing the praises of sarah palin.

    • Old Gator - May 25, 2012 at 12:56 AM

      Remind you of any owners of a storied MLB franchise that hasn’t won a championship in a century or so?

  12. chap0904 - May 24, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    Glenn, he has already asked to be forgiven a payment on the loan. That would be government loan!

  13. ufullpj - May 24, 2012 at 9:11 PM

    For all the folks losing their job, this sucks – totally & completely. And that sentiment trumps everything I’m going to say below.

    One of the reasons I’m no longer a registered Republican (I’m officially an independent) is because of situations like this. Here is Schilling, an outspoken arch-conservative who is griping and complaining about government spending, etc., while always screaming about the need for smaller government. Well, if RI keeps losing $49-75 Million on brutal investments like Schilling, there will be a much smaller government, including waste services, fire, police, etc. across the state and municipal levels.

    The once-extremist, now more normal Republican is in favor of smaller government when it comes to regulations that impact their businesses (like the EPA for oil companies, financial reform for Wall Street, Insurance regulation for the Insurance industry, etc.) – but are then for much larger government and more government regulations on social / legal issues they don’t like – such as abortion, women’s health (such as planned parenthood), gay rights, tort reform, medicare, etc.

    In a word, like Schilling in this case, they are all hypocrites. Or, in three words: D**che-Bag Supremes.

    • rexryanstoecheese - May 25, 2012 at 9:16 AM

      Guess what, you can’t blame the Fox for raiding the hen house, can you?
      A fox will do what a fox will do, period.
      Regardless of Schilling’s hypocrisy, the accountability for this disaster falls squarely on the shoulders of whichever elected officials got all starry eyed and earmarked such an enormous sum for 1 start up.

      From many industry accounts, the MMO market segment is extremely costly to enter with SIGNIFICANT barriers to entry. Furthermore, where is the CFO in all of this? Where is the guy watching the revenue forecast models, cost structure,
      business model and long-term business plan?

      If you don’t have the forecasted funds to support development of this MMO model in the first couple years of your existence, then you don’t go all-in on that product — you develop it while launching other other products and revenue generating services- such as a follow up to the first game, as was mentioned here.
      50Mill is an incredible amount of money to squander and the RI politicians responsible for passing this loan off to them should be escorted out of the State House …..today.

      Government and Private Sector: DO NOT MIX.
      Career Politicians “trying their hand” at upstart’s and private industry is like you or I trying to play in MLB after age 50. Absurd.

      • cleverbob - May 25, 2012 at 9:34 AM

        What’s your take on career private industry guys trying their hand at politics?

  14. rcali - May 24, 2012 at 10:27 PM

    Maybe he should have spent less time on tv and radio shows talking about baseball and more time protecting the people’s money.

    • Old Gator - May 24, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      On the contrary, this is the opportunity he’s been waiting for – time to drop any further pretenses of being a suit, carpetbag down the freeway a bit and run for orifice in some unfortunate little California municipality with a high rate of registered Tea Party decerebrates. Curt, your bloody sock days and entrepreneurial feints are behind you. Your new career as a tinpot demagogue begins now.

  15. jwbiii - May 24, 2012 at 10:30 PM

    Personal responsibility? Drop ‘em and grab your ankles. You’ve got a lot of $20 tricks ahead of you.

  16. vallewho - May 24, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    does this mean he’ll be on TV spewing verbal diarrhea? I hope not.

  17. mojosmagic - May 25, 2012 at 12:05 AM

    Schilling didn’t lose a dime and cost taxpayers 100 million. Con artist,

  18. bleed4philly - May 25, 2012 at 3:26 AM

    They’ll get bought out by blizzard or something

  19. xjokerz - May 25, 2012 at 5:06 AM

    Just another republican blowing tax payers money, gotta love capitalism

  20. xhosa17 - May 25, 2012 at 12:40 PM

    Schilling is definitely a hypocrite but the blame for this falls squarely on the shoulders of the RI government official who approved the loan. The MMO industry is notorious for having a handful of real winners (WoW, EQ1, DAOC, EVE) and scores of losers that lost millions of dollars and thousands of hours of development time (WAR, Asheron’s Call, APB, Tabula Rasa). Notice a trend? By and large, the success stories are backed by companies like Blizzard/Activision, Sony, EA etc…companies that are capable of creating a massive marketing machine behind the product, not to mention the development costs incurred.

    But RI gave a massive loan for the development of an MMO to… Curt Schilling?! And people are actually surprised that the studio closed after Amalur sales were strong and Copernicus was in development? Happens all the time in the gaming industry.

    Whoever approved that should be investigated, at the very least.

  21. chrisexv6 - May 25, 2012 at 2:16 PM

    Too bad they couldnt keep it going.

    It could have meant the end of the World (of WarCraft)

    South Park anyone?

  22. chap0904 - May 25, 2012 at 2:32 PM

    On a similar note, the billionaire owner of the Cubs (who just smeared Obama for his “spending”), is asking for government money to build a new stadium. These people have no shame and no souls.

  23. xhosa17 - May 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    This gets better and better. Apparently before the loan was granted, the numbers RI was shown indicated that that Kingdom of Amalur needed to sell $3M copies to make good on the loan.

  24. proudliberal85392 - May 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Why didn’t Schilling call Tim Thomas for a loan? Schilling’s a typical hypocritical teabagger who wants it both ways. Problem is, a lot of innocent workers lost jobs today because of this creep.

  25. proudliberal85392 - May 25, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    Bless you, chap0904. You are so right!

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