Crony Capitalism

Curt Schilling Blew $75 Million in Public Funds Making Bad Video Games. Naturally, He Thinks He Should Be in Congress.

Schilling and Trump are alike in attacking immigrants for costing money, while seeking out business subsidies.


Former baseball star and current Donald Trump supporter Curt Schilling is considering running for Congress in Arizona as a Republican. President Trump has declared his support for Schilling on Twitter.

Schilling told the Arizona Republic that he has not decided which of the five Democrats currently holding seats he'd run against, but that he is serious about it. And he made it clear to the newspaper that his platform would be all about blaming illegal immigrants for everything bad:

"The state is not the state I grew up in. Making Arizona citizens of EVERY Race, religion and sexual orientation 2nd class citizens to illegal immigrants is about as anti-American as it gets. When you have homeless veterans, children, and you're spending tax dollars on people smuggling drugs and children across our border someone in charge needs their ass kicked."

It's fascinating that Schilling is complaining about wasting tax dollars on bad ideas given his own history of taking tax dollars and wasting them on his own bad ideas. There's a brief reference to Schilling's antics in Rhode Island in the Arizona Republic piece, but Arizona taxpayers should definitely learn more before considering voting for this nominal conservative.

Schilling founded a video game company named 38 Studios in Massachusetts in 2006 and then moved the company to Rhode Island in 2010. The reason for the move was the $75 million in loan guarantees Rhode Island offered to Schilling. The state promised to repay the money if Schilling's company went belly-up.

And boy, did they. Schilling's 38 Studios released one video game, Kingdoms of Amalaur: Reckoning, a fantasy role-playing game that found some modest success in a pretty stuffed marketplace. They attempted to follow up with the development of an online fantasy game to compete with the likes of World of Warcraft. This ended in disaster, which could've been predicted by anybody who understood the games market of that era.

At the time, World of Warcraft was sitting pretty atop the corpses of every studio that challenged them. Schilling's firm ran out of money before their game was completed. A postmortem revealed that Schilling had no idea what he was doing and dramatically underestimated the risks and costs of developing a persistent online game world.

Ultimately, 38 Studios went bankrupt, everybody who worked there lost their jobs, and 38 Studios' assets were sold off. Schilling took it in the shorts as well, losing millions of his own savings and selling off his home in Massachusetts. After years of legal action, Rhode Island managed to recoup $61 million in settlements, including $2.5 million from Schilling himself.

One lesson here is that government has no business subsidizing video game companies. Another lesson is that post-baseball Schilling talks a bigger game than he can actually play. Given what he did with taxpayer money, it's a bit rich of him to complain about the public (and exaggerated) costs of illegal immigrants. Immigrants (legally here or not) are largely assets to the country and contribute to the economy.

Like Trump, Schilling may talk about cutting government spending, but he's more than happy to feed at the trough when it comes to their own business dealings.

Below, ReasonTV and Anthony Fisher took a deep dive into Schilling and 38 Studios' massive failure: