Monday, August 15, 2011

38 Studios Will Be Curt Schilling's Last Stand

Curt Schilling probably doesn't know that I like video games.  I played pong and owned and Atari games system with the joysticks that hurt your hand after hours of play.  I owned a Commodore 64, an Atari 260 and 5200.  I played Tetris, Blades of Steel and NHL93 in college and the memories of those games are still brought back to life whenever us Fathers get together for college reunions.  I am now a consumer on my childrens' behalf, buying them birthday gifts consisting of Wii and XBox games like World Cup Soccer and Madden 2011.  But Curt Schilling doesn't know that.  And I suspect that he never will.

A little different than Mario Brothers
38 Studios was started in 2006 as a hobby for Schilling, who was struggling with injuries after the glorious 2004 World Series victory.  I don't know what it was at the time, but I just knew that Schilling was a video game enthusiast.  There was something about his personality that made me believe that he went down into his basement after home games and played Grand Theft Auto on his giant big screen.  Honestly, he seemed like that kind of gamer-dork (and I mean that in a good way). 

Soon, Schilling started pouring his millions into the company and opened up shop off of I-495 in Maynard.  He started talking more about his company than he was about his first two loves - baseball and politics.  And the local media was eating it up.  For a time.

But the years started piling up with no real products to offer us.  First there were rumblings that investors weren't happy with Schilling's egotistical terms - foolishly thinking that venture capitalists would just throw money at him because he was - well - Curt Schilling (VCs invest mostly other people's money and not their own).  Then there was the desperate move to Providence in order to secure a sizable loan from the State of Rhode Island.  That did not go over well in many circles up Boston way.  On the brights side, he might now have a section dedicated to him in my long dreamed Providence Hall of Fame, when I get that built. 

In 2006, multi player games you played on your computer was a hot idea.  Now with Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja and Cut the Rope, smartphone apps are becoming the norm.  And social media game giant, Zynga, is looking at an IPO in the next several months.  Meanwhile, Schilling was recently spotted stumping for more money.  Despite good reviews of his yet-to-be-released product, an individual role playing game called Reckoning, Schilling's market is drying up. We are becoming a mobile computing society and none of us spend time in front of our computer anymore, unless we're working (or writing blogs in our Mother's basement).

Ultimately, I'm rooting for 38 Studios.  I like to see successful companies in New England.  Whether it be in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts or Rhode Island, we're all stuck with one another and a success in one state usually means a success for all of the New England states.  I'm just afraid that the window of opportunity has closed for Schilling.  And just like pick up baseball games, breaking a window to try to achieve success just makes everyone run away as fast as they can.  It's going to be a little chilly in the ESPN studio when he and Nomar Garciaparra are paired up for the 2011 playoffs. 

Oh yeah, one last thing.  Can I have your autograph?

photograph courtesy of

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