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Curt Schilling's 38 Studios Struggling Financially 158

Posted by Soulskill
from the welcome-to-the-big-leagues dept.
medv4380 writes "38 Studios, run by Curt Schilling, is having a hard time paying its bills and employees. The gaming community hasn't been happy with the company since the issue with an Online Pass for Single Player Content, which we discussed previously. Now, 38 Studios has bounced a check intended as a payment on its $75 million loan from the state of Rhode Island. If the company defaults, Rhode Island taxpayers will have to cover the loan and interest, which could total nearly $100 million."
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Curt Schilling's 38 Studios Struggling Financially

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  • who? (Score:1, Offtopic)

    by X0563511 (793323)

    Why do we care about this?

    • Re:who? (Score:4, Informative)

      by bmo (77928) on Friday May 18, 2012 @02:52PM (#40044477)

      Curt Schilling.

      Mr. Bloody Sock himself.

      You need to get out of your basement once in a while.

      --
      BMO

      • A little bit of ketchup goes a long, long way.

      • Re:who? (Score:5, Funny)

        by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Friday May 18, 2012 @03:17PM (#40044875)

        You need to get out of your basement once in a while.

        Isn't this really the sort of knowledge gained by spending more time in the basement?

        • Re:who? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Rogue Haggis Landing (1230830) on Friday May 18, 2012 @04:00PM (#40045397)

          You need to get out of your basement once in a while.

          Isn't this really the sort of knowledge gained by spending more time in the basement?

          Schilling's Bloody Sock is one of the most famous incidents in American sports in the 21st century [wikipedia.org], and occurred during the most-remembered playoff series in baseball of the last few decades. Lots of people who aren't basement dwellers know all about it.

          A basement dweller hears Schilling's name and remembers that only 4.9% of the runs that Schilling allowed over his career were unearned, which is the lowest percentage for any pitcher with a long career. We, er, *they* know that this means that ERA undervalues Schilling, because preventing unearned runs is a skill -- you do it by striking out batters, not walking anyone, and getting batters to hit fly balls rather than ground balls.

          Basement dwellers, and a lot of other people, also know that Schilling has been a very outspoken conservative proponent of small government for many years. He'd say that a free-spending government corrupts the market, corrupts individuals, and leads to lots of waste. I guess he just went out and proved himself right!

          Now if you'll excuse me, Mom says that lunch is ready. Hope it isn't PB&J again!

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            A basement dweller hears Schilling's name and remembers that only 4.9% of the runs that Schilling allowed over his career were unearned, which is the lowest percentage for any pitcher with a long career. We, er, *they* know that this means that ERA undervalues Schilling, because preventing unearned runs is a skill -- you do it by striking out batters, not walking anyone, and getting batters to hit fly balls rather than ground balls.

            Yeah, that's way more useful than being able to identify the classes of various starships.

            • by skids (119237)

              Ah, Sports Geeks. Gotta love them. It takes a lot of talent to turn what is normally a social bridge into a social liability.

            • A basement dweller hears Schilling's name and remembers that only 4.9% of the runs that Schilling allowed over his career were unearned, which is the lowest percentage for any pitcher with a long career. We, er, *they* know that this means that ERA undervalues Schilling, because preventing unearned runs is a skill -- you do it by striking out batters, not walking anyone, and getting batters to hit fly balls rather than ground balls.

              Yeah, that's way more useful than being able to identify the classes of various starships.

              Of course it's not at all useful, which is the great beauty of it. Baseball probably has more nerd fans than any other American sport, in large part because it is an incredible generator of numerical data. Just look at Schilling's page at Baseball Reference [baseball-reference.com]. Look at all of those beautiful numbers!

              A baseball game is largely a series of discrete events with a relatively limited number of possible outcomes. A typical baseball game has maybe 250-300 pitches thrown in it, each one of which has a measurable

              • by bmo (77928)

                Baseball probably has more nerd fans than any other American sport

                Stephen Jay Gould has written more on baseball than any other palaeontologist alive or dead. You should read his essay on the demise of the .400 hitter.

                --
                BMO

          • by Grishnakh (216268)

            Basement dwellers, and a lot of other people, also know that Schilling has been a very outspoken conservative proponent of small government for many years. He'd say that a free-spending government corrupts the market, corrupts individuals, and leads to lots of waste. I guess he just went out and proved himself right!

            This stuff about this person is all news to me, as I don't waste my time watching the idiotic and non-athletic children's game masquerading as a "sport" called baseball. However, I have notice

            • by Fjandr (66656)

              Eh, given how hard it is to actually change the system, maybe it's easier to just drain it dry. :)

          • Re:who? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Jesus_666 (702802) on Friday May 18, 2012 @04:40PM (#40045825)
            Of course, Slashdotters who aren't from the United States will be hard-pressed to even name a baseball team*, will wonder why unearned runs aren't prevented by the referee and will wonder what a French New Age pop band has to do with sports. Baseball and American football, while big in the states, are entirely obscure in much of the rest of the world.

            * Well, I know that there is a team called the "Red Socks" but I have no idea whether it's a baseball or football team, nor do I care about it enough to ask Wikipedia.
            • by david.given (6740)

              Apparently it's really popular in South Korea, too. Go figure.

              We also have it here in the UK; although we call it 'rounders', and it's usually played only by little girls.

            • by artor3 (1344997)

              So apparently Japan, Taiwan, Korea, the Philippines, and almost all of Latin America don't count. And to think, Europeans think Americans are insular...

              • by Jesus_666 (702802)
                I said "much of the rest of the world", not "the entire rest of the world". I know that baseball is popular in certain parts of asia but that doesn't change the fact that in large parts of the world no one will know a baseball player even if he is a household name in places where baseball is celebrated.
                • by artor3 (1344997)

                  One would be hard pressed to come up with a story that is interesting to the whole world. Honestly, even setting aside the baseball angle, would your average Russian or Indian care about the bankruptcy of a small American video game shop?

                  • by Jesus_666 (702802)
                    Would your average Slashdotter? This story is interesting for a reason. I am led to believe it is because 38 Studios used launch DLC to get around the first-sale doctrine, not because the CEO was apparently a reknowned baseball player at some point. The first-sale doctrine getting undermined is interesting to non-American Slashdotters because when companies get away with such nonsense in the States they will invariably try it elsewhere, too. American sports have no impact on my life; launch DLC does.

                    Now,
                    • by artor3 (1344997)

                      The first sale doctrine thing had nothing to do with the company's failure. The game sold well (though it probably would have sold better had it not been sandwiched between Skyrim and Diablo). The reason the company is failing is because Schilling took on huge amounts of debt, and missed his original release target by two years.

                      The moral of this story, if there is one, is that you shouldn't loan money to capricious millionaires to help them fund their dream projects.

              • almost all of Latin America don't count

                According to Wikipedia:

                • Latin America population: 572 million
                • South America population: 387.5 million (South America is part of Latin America)
                • Venezuela population: 27 million (the only South American country that's really into baseball)

                Considering all Latin American countries baseball fans except South America but including Venezuela, that's gives us a rough estimate of only 37% of the Latin American population being baseball fans. You're not helping in your 'Americ

    • by chispito (1870390)
      Video games matter to a lot of nerds. Also, some nerds live in Rhode Island. Or are Red Sox fans. Really, there are a lot of angles here. I'm surprised you didn't think of any of them yourself.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        It might help if the summary mentioned some games they'd produced, so we'd know whether to care.

    • by spinkham (56603)

      It's vaguely interesting to me because he used to be my aunt and uncle's next door neighbor in Kennet Square, PA. He seemed to be a nice guy, but his bulldogs were a bit over the top.

      I heard he played some stick-ball game or something also, but I must admit I don't care about that very much...

  • Schilling. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jonnythan (79727) on Friday May 18, 2012 @02:51PM (#40044457) Homepage

    Jesus people.

    It's Schilling.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by fdskfs (2642685)
      Hey, it just continues the slashdot trend of calling anyone you don't agree with a shill!
    • Shill (noun)
      2. a person who publicizes or praises something or someone for reasons of self-interest, [...]

      So Schilling is a shill. Are you sure the spelling is a mistake? He is, in fact, shilling.

  • They should have had a deeper crafting system, and fixed some of the oddities. I would have bought ALL the DLC if they had done that.

    Seriously, my smithing is maxed out to 10, and I'm getting bottom rung components when I break up top of the line armor and weapons? It's like I became a smithing god when crafting a weapon, but when it's time to disassemble something, I turn into a three year old with a mallet.

    The detection skill was a good idea, though.

    • I thought the demo looked pretty neat. That said, I didn't feel like paying AAA pricing for the game. If it was 40 I would have been all over it while I waited for D3.

  • by cellocgw (617879) <cellocgw.gmail@com> on Friday May 18, 2012 @02:54PM (#40044501) Journal

    Is there ever going to be a time when the pols realize that throwing massive tax breaks at corporations is a bad idea for the state/city/country they're supposed to be representing?

    And BTW everyone in MA and NY knows about Schilling, the bloody sock, the piano in the lake, and a record-setting choke which led to the end of an 86-year curse.

    • by Bigby (659157)

      Tax breaks are fine, when done so in an unbiased manner. However, when they favor a specific corporation, a specific person, or people over corporations, or corporations over people, then you will get circumvention or entities taking advantage of the situation. Simply remove the bias in law.

    • by Ihmhi (1206036)

      Is there ever going to be a time when the pols realize that throwing massive tax breaks at corporations is a bad idea for the state/city/country they're supposed to be representing?

      Even if there is, it won't work.

      Pennsylvania won't give tax breaks? I'll set up my company in New York!

      East Coast won't give tax breaks? I'll set up my company in the Midwest!

      U.S.won't give tax breaks? I'll set up my company in Canada!

      Western Hemisphere won't give tax breaks? I'll set up my company in Laos!

    • by rogerz (78608)

      Um, the main issue here was not a tax break, but a government loan guarantee. At least as bad, if not worse, since the moral hazard is blatantly obvious to anyone with a modicum of sense: Heads, we pay back the loan and keep all of the profits for our shareholders; the citizens of the sponsoring state get bupkis. Tails we declare bankruptcy, and the citizens of the sponsoring state get stuck with the loss from the loan.

  • This is what it looks like.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=BZ_6PkeO_g8 [youtube.com]

    "It's like you're running away."

    --
    BMO

  • Sounds like anyone who avoided their game dodged a serious bullet, and now this is the logical result. Learn the lesson Mr. Shilling - you brought this entirely upon yourself.

    • Actually, the combat in the game is one of the most fun action-RPG combat systems I've ever played. The story was also fairly interesting, and more mature than most.

      I ended up clicking past the dialog like I usually do, because good for a videogame means "absolutely fucking terrible" by literary standards, so I lost the story, and the extremely limited enemy variety (there were about 10 monsters total when you discount reskinnings) meant that the combat, while really, really good, also lost its charm, so I

  • Hypocrite (n): (Score:5, Insightful)

    by American AC in Paris (230456) on Friday May 18, 2012 @03:06PM (#40044679) Homepage

    "There can be no question our country is in the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. I also think there can be no question that it falls on us, the individuals, to find a way out of our own personal crisis." - Curt Schilling

    It well and truly stinks that this man was ever allowed within ten feet of public funding in the first place. Even more confusing, though, is that he even pursued public funding in the first place.

    It's enough to make one think that he never really believed the anti-gubmit pablum he was spouting in the first place.

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Why is that?
      All of these anti-government types are like that. They love to suck that government teat and use all the services it provides, when it comes time to pay the tax bill that is when they start to complain.

      • by rogerz (78608)

        Nice generalization. Of course, most of us "anti-government" types, are not actually "anti government"! Instead, we favor a government limited to its proper functions, none of which involve the initiation of force against innocents.

        And, to anticipate your brilliant retort - yes, I will take back whatever measly social security payments that remain when it is my turn, since the money was taken from me without my consent for all of those years. I will also use the public roads, which I never asked to be bu

        • by Uberbah (647458)

          Nice generalization. Of course, most of us "anti-government" types, are not actually "anti government"! Instead, we favor a government limited to its proper functions, none of which involve the initiation of force against innocents.

          Except it's usually an accurate generalization, as wanting less government for the sake of less government is as sensible as wanting maximum government for the sake of it. That and the tendency of it to merely be an argument against spending one doesn't like. You never see cons

    • by Namarrgon (105036) on Friday May 18, 2012 @07:49PM (#40047531) Homepage

      So not only did he "negotiate" RI into loaning his startup $75M (which was a huge chunk of their $125M jobs-development budget, and was pretty controversial at the time), he did so claiming he'd sunk "$35-$38 million" of his own money into the company.

      Turned out, the figure was closer to $3M, and he promptly paid himself back with the RI loan money, removing any personal stake in the success of his company.

  • The real story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Friday May 18, 2012 @03:06PM (#40044687) Journal

    Paying companies to relocation is a win for owners a loss for working stiffs. In the best scenario, tax payers in the new community get the benefit of more jobs at the expense of subsidizing millionaires. The old community losts the jobs the new community gains.

    In this case, not only did the new community not gain jobs in the long term, but they are now responsible for $100M in loans. Brilliant job.

    I like free markets. I have government in bed with big business.

    • Re:The real story (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bmo (77928) on Friday May 18, 2012 @03:37PM (#40045155)

      An you know what the real irony is here?

      Curt Schilling is a full-blown teabagger.

      --
      BMO

    • by DaveGod (703167)

      Ironically perhaps, in relatively-socialist (relatively) Europe the EU has to approve any significant "state aid [europa.eu]"

      The primary reasoning given is it distorts competition between companies (thus ultimately harming the consumer), but also recognised in the criteria - and what most often causes us to hear about it - is distorting competition between member states.

      If a company relocates from A to B just because state aid is offered, there's a clear implication that the combined benefit gained by country B + compa

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @03:12PM (#40044793)

    All of us techies living in Mass. saw this coming. You had a sports celebrity non-businessman CEO on one side, and unsophisticated investors on the other who happened to be controlling $75 million of taxpayers' money. The agreement they signed pretty much compelled 38 Studios to build the payroll to an unsustainable level (since the state was trying to hoping to create a local tech industry) and thus burn money as fast as possible. Elementary budgeting and accounting skills were lacking.

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "unsophisticated investors" = dumbfuck jock sniffers.

      People who worship jocks deserve to get viciously exploited for being craven fools. The taxpayers get fucked, but they relentlessly vote in people who in a decent society would be broken on the wheel for corruption.

  • Thank Goodness! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MogNuts (97512) on Friday May 18, 2012 @03:17PM (#40044873)

    All I can say is good riddance. I'm glad that a shitty game with an even shittier DRM practice is not rewarded. We should be happy about this.

    Remember all the hub-bub that KoA was getting about even though it was single player you couldn't get 1/3 the game unless you purchased new? Yet all of a sudden, even though it's average score was a 7, it was getting rave or good comments all over every game sites message board. The astroturfing was so obvious and egregious. And the problem was, it was so prevalent and everywhere people actually genuinely believed it was a good game.

    What pissed me off more though is that everyone was carrying torches the day before it was released about the DRM, and then "they just bent over and took it."

    So I say good riddances and thank god. Because if that game sold well, you know damn well that would open the floodgates to needing online passes for single player games forever on...consoles!

    Ugh.

    • Re:Thank Goodness! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Jackie_Chan_Fan (730745) on Friday May 18, 2012 @03:50PM (#40045289)

      ... and then there was diablo 3.

      requires online and unique serial (non transferable) to play single player.

      Trust me, the rape never ended.

      • by medv4380 (1604309)
        It was consensual Officer Bill. Last week Jackie came in and asked for KoA gave me money and I game him KoA. This week he came in asked for D3 and gave me money so I gave him D3. There was no rape involved. He actually asked for it. Others begged for it. I'm just their dealer. They know I lace with DRM.
      • There are plenty of games that are not like that. While some publishers are trying for that crap, others are not and some are emphatic about not doing it. So buy games that don't do that. IF we vote with our wallets, it will work itself out long term.

        • by bryan1945 (301828)

          The thing is, if:
          It's a good game
          Has no or minimal DRM (license key)
          Costs $20

          Will people suddenly decide to start paying for it instead of grabbing a torrent? Maybe 10-30%? You would, I would, probably our friends would. I'm not even sure what % of /. would pay for it, with the "all software should be free" contingent. Dang, now I'm all depressed.

        • by MogNuts (97512)

          I agree with you. Problem is, when has voting with your feet or wallet ever changed anything? CoD petition? They all bought the damn game anyway. Shitty ME3 ending? Still a record seller and people whined AFTER they bought the game knowing the shitty ending. People are whining left and right about D3, yet they knew about this atrocity a full YEAR before it was even released. Yet they bought it anyway.

          It seems the only way things are changed anymore is the outcry of bad press. So yes, we need to complain, an

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        You're right. That's the problem. Blizzard knew we'd all complain, then take it up the ass anyway. They gambled. And I bet you then won already. If this was any other game, it would end up like Ubisoft and have sales for those games drop to almost nothing (that actually happened last quarter or year--forget when exactly).

        Problem is, it ruins it for everyone. Witness the copying of the extra $50 elite for BF3. Who just promised us they would never charge for map packs or charge for a stats service.

    • by Nixoloco (675549)

      All I can say is good riddance. I'm glad that a shitty game with an even shittier DRM practice is not rewarded. We should be happy about this.

      Have you actually even played Kingdoms of Amalur or are just ranting because of some stuff you read on the Internet? I have spent many hours playing and absolutely love it. It is quite the opposite of a "shitty" game.

      I played the console version, so I can't really speak of the DRM. It doesn't seem to have any more than any other console game. There is one quest (House of Valor) that is unlocked with a key you get when you buy it new, but you can get it as DLC. I bought it used for pretty cheap. Loved t

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        Nixoloco, you are the only one who gets a pass on this because from your UID it doesn't seem like you're a paid astroturfer. So I'll give you your opinion. Not everyone likes the same games. For example, I loved the 2008 Alone in the Dark. Loved it. But the press gave it like a 3 or 5 IIRC.

        But fact is, the average for that game was a 70-75. So I can't give you a pass. It was a mediocre game and people knew it. But you're allowed a different opinion.

        And how can you argue about online passes on console SINGLE

    • by _xeno_ (155264)

      This has, strangely enough, next to nothing to do with Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. 38 Studios didn't make that (exactly), they took an existing game that Big Huge Games was in the process of making and basically shoehorned their existing Amalur content into it.

      This is also why they're still losing money - they're trying to create a World of Warcraft killer, and they have nothing to show for it. Instead they had to buy another company's game and release it as their own.

      It's also unclear how much of the DR

  • This pisses me off to no end. I'm not a big fan of Bob Watson but I agree - I think former Governor Carcieri was starstruck and pushed this deal through.

    And how curious - I wrote a blog post with a pro forma estimate of how much they should have burned through using 20 employees as my benchmark. It's been in operation for about a year now, and they did make $60 million on that game, probably half that was profit So Schilling got his $30 million investment back. But then there's the matter that of the $75
    • Fellow RIer here... The best strategy as a resident would probably have been to invest in the bonds themselves, if possible...it would have been the perfect hedge. Heads, we win...tails, we don't lose.

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