Sports writers are busy debating whether his next stop is the Baseball Hall of Fame, but Curt Schilling is already preparing to deliver his next pitch—the first product release from his entertainment and development company 38 Studios.
Schilling is perhaps best known for his bloody sock when he led the Boston Red Sox to the franchise's first World Series title in 86 years. But the retired pitcher and three-time world champion also has the reputation of being a video game junkie when it comes to massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs.
His goal now is to help create a new immersive, social gaming environment that he can both enjoy and profit from.
"I'm a hardcore gamer. I've got three or four MMOs on my hard drive at any one time," Schilling said. "Trust me when I tell you being the best in the world is not a cliche term. Being the best in the world means being better than everybody else at providing an entertainment experience. In this space, that's our goal."
Schilling founded 38 Studios in 2006 while he was still active with the Red Sox as an outlet for his passion for online games. Following his retirement, the transformation from pitcher to entertainment studio chief came naturally for him."The biggest transition was having to wake up before noon," Schilling jokes. "The transition has been a lot smaller and a lot less involved than people would have imagined. There are so many parallels, there is so much crossover to being successful in both."
Despite being around for three years, 38 Studios still hasn't released a game, although the company is working furiously to complete Copernicus, the code name for its first MMORPG.
But with an executive team that comes from top-level positions at Electronic Arts (Stock Quote: ERTS)
"I'm the eternal optimist," Schilling said. "Our development model was cash out the door until we launch anyways. None of that has changed. You could argue that we're probably one of the few companies in the world that are perfectly positioned right now. We don't have product on the market to lose revenue. The available talent pool has grown exponentially in the last six months to a year."
The world of massively multiplayer online games is a very profitable one for game makers. Activision Blizzard said that its MMOG segment, which includes World of Warcraft, generated $325 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, good for a 20% share of the quarter's entire revenue. For all of 2008, MMOGs netted Activision Blizzard more than $1.1 billion in sales.