Former Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and Phillies ace Curt Schilling has lost “north of $50 million” in the bankruptcy of his video game company, 38 Studios. The company had received a $75 million loan guarantee from Rhode Island to move from Massachusetts, but bankruptcy filings show 38 Studios owes “between $100 million and $500 million” despite only having about ten percent of that in holdings.
38 Studios grew out of Schilling’s love of MMORPG video games (I have no idea what that means…nerds) and only produced one title, a game called Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.
While it’s very common for retired baseball players to invest in new companies, usually they don’t fail on this level. Schilling has even stated that he’s lost most, if not all, of the money he made while he was playing baseball. He has even taken a leave of absence from his other job as a baseball analyst for ESPN to deal with the issues surrounding 38 Studios’ bankruptcy.
Part of the issues stem from Schilling’s assertion that Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee undermined 38 Studios’ chances of saving itself from its huge debts. Schilling says the governor “wanted it to fail, he was happy that it failed.” Chaffee even called for investigation into the business loan from the state to 38 Studios when he was still a candidate for governor.
Apparently, the failure of a business that the state invested money in with the promise of bringing 450 jobs to the state is somehow a good thing for a politician to hope for. Chaffee’s response has been to outright deny what Schilling has said, though you can read that and picture a bit of a smirk on his face.
Maybe the democratic governor and the Republican-leaning former pitcher just don’t get along on any level. I don’t know. But this is a very high-profile embarrassment for Schilling, since $50 million is a hell of a lot of money.
In fact, one has to wonder a little about Schilling’s business acumen. He bet $50 million of his own money on a hobby. Aside from the obvious financing problems the company had, the video game business is in real trouble as a whole anyway.
Most major video game companies are trying to figure out how to make money in different ways than charging $60 for every new game. There’s no telling what would have happened to a start-up like 38 Studios if it had even been able to continue operating.
Hopefully Schilling can absorb this loss and move on with his post-baseball life.