38 Studios and its subsidary Big Huge Games, owned by Curt Schilling, a former professional baseball player and the developers of Kingdoms of Amalur are shutting down their business, which apparently happen already, at Thursday to be precise. As a direct result, about 400 people were laid off. Well anyway, considering Kingdoms of Amalur sold around 1.2 million copies, this may come as a surprise. But apparently the reason to why the company went under have something to do with a $75 million loan from 2010.
While some were trashing Shilling, some were praising him, and quite a few felt like making jokes about it. Personally I’d say I’m quite neutral to what just went down. I liked Kingdoms of Amalur, and a small part of me was hoping for a follow up, but that will not be happening now. Truth to be told, it’s not as if the gaming industry lost any big contributor, but in a sense they did have the potential to create som real good titles. Obviously one can argue about the matter as much as one would like, but to me it felt a little like those 1.2 million copies were not enough considering Kingdoms of Amalur was a super hyped title released on three platforms. And it feels like the company may not even have been able to cover the expenses of developing and marketing the game considering the amount of copies sold.
To be fair, the loss of a company with the potential of creating something magnificent may be a slight drawback for the gaming industry. But in this case it is more of a loss considering potential titles, not a complete crash in the video game industry. As some of you may have heard there have been rumors about Nintendo being in a small financial crisis, if they went under, that would be a major blow, but I hardly think that Nintendo will crash and burn. Obviously as 38 studios are quite new in the industry the chance of it crashing is a lot higher, and considering Kingdoms of Amalur did not meet the expectations considering copies sold I sense it escalated quite quickly.
The event made Twitter turn into a firezone and #38jobs was a top 10 trending topic on Thursday. While those who had been laid off were trashing their former employer, many other companies saw their chance to pick up new talent. Microsoft Studios, Insomniac Games and CCP games were among those who saw it more as an opportunity. While some development studios may have taken the opportunity to pick up new talent, others did praise 38 studios on their job with Kingdoms of Amalur, the biggest names in this category would be Bioware and EA.
I do understand that there may be a difference in opinions when something like this happens, but I must say that other development studios handled it quite well, this due to the fact that they offered open positions to those who recently lost their jobs. Also I felt like picking out one tweet in particular, not because I agree or disagree with it, but because it seem to be the general opinion about the matter at hand:
“There are lawyers somewhere in [Rhode Island] looking for a way to prosecute Curt Schilling, he is the sacrifice to the gods/public.”
International Game Developers Association chairperson Kevin Dent
I’m not sure if Curt Shilling is to blame or not, and to be fair, it is none of my concern, but I will say this, if you alone are the cause to your company going under, then, well, you may as well be sacrificed to your former employees to still their anger.