Schilling's company launches first video game

Feb 14, 2012 By RACHEL COHEN , AP Sports Writer

(AP) -- A teenage Curt Schilling got a paper route so he could afford an Apple II just like the one his Little League coach owned.

Three decades later with cash to spare from his baseball career, the retired pitcher has invested nearly $35 million into a business producing the sort of fantasy video game that first made him yearn for a personal computer.

In New York on Monday to promote the first offering from his 38 Studios entertainment company, Schilling stopped in at a video game store and asked how "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning" was selling. The answer was encouraging, though the conversation went a bit downhill when the clerk realized who Schilling was and turned out to be a Yankees fan.

Schilling had long been a hard-core gamer when he led the Red Sox past New York with his bloody sock. In the early 1980s, his best friend's father - who was also Schilling's youth baseball coach - brought home an Apple II from his job as an engineer. Young Curt was soon hooked on "Wizardry," an early role-playing video game. The graphics felt cutting-edge at the time; Schilling was stunned the other day when he looked up some old screen shots and realized how primitive they look now.

Always a fan of books like "The Lord of the Rings" series, Schilling kept inhabiting the world of role-playing video games throughout a 20-year major league career in which he won three World Series championships. Fascinated by technology, he owned a laptop in the early 1990s "before they were truly portable."

"I wasn't really a big car or jewelry guy," Schilling said. "I always had the best laptop you can have."

By the late 1990s, he was toying with the idea of launching a production company.

Schilling got serious about it several years later. He recalled feeling disappointed by "," the sequel released in late 2004 to the popular multiplayer online game. Irked by certain elements, he'd wonder: "What were they thinking?"

While playing online with several developers from Sony, which produced the game, Schilling would muse about hatching his own startup.

"You do that, I'll definitely join your company," they'd tell him.

They didn't quite believe him when he later actually offered them jobs. In October 2006, the business launched with 11 employees. Today, 38 Studios - as in his uniform number - has nearly 400.

The cost of producing an intricate was just one of many surprises in store for Schilling. He knows he has the luxury of deep pockets instead of having to search for venture capital. Other investments have come from "high net-worth individuals" and the state of Rhode Island, where the company is headquartered. Schilling, 45, is partnered with comic book and toy creator Todd McFarlane and fantasy author R. A. Salvatore.

"Reckoning," a role-playing game, was released last Tuesday.

Up next is a product code-named "Copernicus," a multiplayer online game. Schilling said he never realized how difficult it was to ensure the program would work with players using different gaming systems.

"The only thing I've seen that could be harder is missile defense systems," he said.

Never lacking for confidence, Schilling plans for 38 Studios to create all sorts of products and someday become a "multibillion dollar entertainment company."

Explore further: Body by smartphone

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Baseball legend fields fantasy world video game

Feb 08, 2012

Electronic Arts has released a much-anticipated "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning" video game created by an all-star team put together by World Series champion pitcher Curt Schilling.

Study shows how embryos regulate vitamin A derivatives

Nov 20, 2007

Human embryos that get too much or too little retinoic acid, a derivative of Vitamin A, can develop into babies with birth defects. New research at UC Irvine shows for the first time how embryonic cells may regulate levels ...

Recommended for you

Facebook's Internet.org expands in Zambia

18 hours ago

(AP)—Facebook's Internet.org project is taking another step toward its goal of bringing the Internet to people who are not yet online with an app launching Thursday in Zambia.

Body by smartphone

Jul 30, 2014

We love our smartphones. Since they marched out of the corporate world and into the hands of consumers about 10 years ago, we've relied more and more on our iPhone and Android devices to organize our schedules, ...

Breakthrough elastic cloud-to cloud networking

Jul 30, 2014

Scientists from AT&T, IBM and Applied Communication Sciences (ACS) announced a proof-of-concept technology that reduces set up times for cloud-to-cloud connectivity from days to seconds. This advance is a major step forward ...

Security CTO to detail Android Fake ID flaw at Black Hat

Jul 29, 2014

Where have you heard this before: A team of security researchers discover a security flaw in Android devices. This is, however, news. This time, experts are talking about a flaw that involves a widespread ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GSwift7
1 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2012
Too bad it cost him so much, took him so long, and finally released at a time when the model for most MMO games is changing to a free-to-play model with microtransactions. Throw in the recent launch of Star Wars: The Old Republic and his chances for making any return on investment are slim in this first release. Having such big names on his intillectual property scorecard can also be a drawback in some ways. Such tallent isn't cheap and more often than not, in video games it isn't a ticket to higher sales.