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Why Schilling didn't tell his staff about 38 Studios' demise
Why Schilling didn't tell his staff about 38 Studios' demise
July 23, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

July 23, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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"It wasnít that I didnít want to tell anyoneÖitís I didnít know what to say."
Former 38 Studios head Curt Schilling explains why he never told his staff about the studio's impending downfall in a new feature from Boston Magazine.

Schilling says that with the mounting financial troubles and increasing political pressure, things at 38 Studios were moving so quickly that he didn't know what to tell the rest of the company until it was too late. As a result, most employees were left completely in the dark until they lost their jobs altogether.

On top of that, Schilling's says his history as a baseball player trained him to never admit defeat until everything's really over -- right until the studio went under, he was confident that he could still set everything right.

"I believed with every ounce of my being that everything was going to work itself out," he says.


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Comments


Philip Wilson
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WOW...really? Talk about a load of complete CRAP!

"Never admit defeat until everything's really over"...yea that works great if you're playing a baseball game & you make millions of dollars but not when the personal life's of hardworking employees & their families are at stake.

David Rodriguez
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@Philip

It's not a load of crap what he said, it's actually the essence of what drives success in anyone's career. The fault he made still goes back to his lack of communication with company employees. He mentioned baseball trained him "Never to admit defeat" yet ironically, he would have benefited from remembering baseball is team work driven. Informing his staff of the political damage hurting investor funds possibly could have fueled the need for some much needed damage control.

I wasn't there but I'm sure having a unified company could have made the difference. If a ship is sinking, even the cook needs to help patch the holes where the water is getting in.

David Rodriguez
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@Lex

Did you even read the article by the way? he IGNORED his teams guidance hence why I suggested a unified company would have made all the difference. There's a management term called "1 leader and 1000 followers" ..different wording maybe but it's the practice of 1 guy who led the charge and didn't let his employees do there job correctly/over-ruled peoples management despite there experience. Yes, he showered them in riches and the perks were great but the damage that was going on behind the scenes was out of control and he was too stubborn to listen to anyone.

Never admitting defeat IS the essence of success Lex but in Schillings case he was (from your translation)hammering his hand despite what folks were saying. I should have elaborated on it better because it still entails churning the fat, learning from your mistakes but in the end never giving up. I have seen it happen in both cases. One case, were're told everything from the start and were in the loop. As a result of that, we nailed our deadlines because the company organized itself accordingly to the situation we were in. In the other case,no emails, no communication, no effort to fix the sinking ship, then we got the surprise shit can.

I don't know what experience you speak from Lex, but I've witnessed what's worked several times already and it's a unified team that doesn't give up.

Sean Scarfo
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I do believe his (Schilling) response is weak at best, and cowardly at worst. As a professional, (especially with 400+ people depending on the success of a company), you take yourself out of the equation and think about the bigger picture.

Schilling should have communicated everything to his executive leadership team to give them the opportunity to pull some rabbit out of the hat. They should have shipped their game bottom line and do what everyone else does... patch it till it works. (While I hate that as a gamer, I understand from a red line perspective that money now makes a better difference than the same money later)

Zirani Jean-Sylvestre
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Sad story...

I have read the article entirely and I can't help having a feeling of "dťjŗ vu", here's what comes to mind:

Fast growing company with questionable business model
MMO development that appears to be a money pit and a death march
Executives with almost-no-knowledge of the industry
Reluctant "business partners", publishers "in the loop" and "almost signed-off" promizes
Employees not being paid for several months
Tax breaks with insane amount of hires as a condition

Apart from the ambition of taking over World Of Warcraft with a company "from scratch", I see nothing too exceptional...

I don't know many employers that would let employees know about the financial situation. It would make things even worse. Their main concern is to keep the company operating and they would fear key ppl's departure.

I feel for the employees. They've put their heart into making their best and nobody will ever experience that...

Hope they get well.

Jane Castle
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After reading this, Kenny Rodgers comes to mind: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt5rrUKOgAU

David Glenn
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Allot of people in this industry have very good gaming sense and the resources to execute a game, but the business end is at low end of the totem pole. In the company I worked for, the only guy that handled the business affairs of the company was not really an employee but a stockbroker hired as part time person - one day a week.

As is always the case in some of these operations, the true people that held the purse strings knew little about the business of a company and tried to toss money (that they didn't have) on problems. Thatís not how to run the bottom line and make payroll.

Itís sad because the owners had the right indentions to do things right and had a heart of gold, they just needed better business guidance and a better short and long term plan. When things got bad, it was hard on ALL of us managment and staff! It was a small outfit and I could feel the pain that managment was going though!!

Kelly Johnson
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$5 million a month? Yikes! That kind of budget is not justified for a studio that has no track record of success. MMORPG's are the ocean liners of the game industry. If you are a new developer for this kind of game usually it is a group who has split off from a successful larger company, otherwise it is a great financial risk to make a MMORPG with a group that has no proven experience making one. Perpetual Entertainment had a similar fate with Gods and Heroes a few years ago and had to close their doors and lay off staff just like 38 had to do. I knew people who worked there and they were kept in the dark until it was too late.


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