Curt Schilling’s 38 Studios, which released its first game to generally positive reviews earlier this year, closed its doors Thursday, laying off its entire staff.
Despite having received a $75 million loan guarantee from Rhode Island, the company failed to stay afloat while trying to develop a large-scale MMO called Copernicus. This despite the fact that the game it released this February, Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, sold 1.2 million copies in its first 90 days, according to Schilling.
38 Studios’ future had been uncertain after it missed a scheduled payment to Rhode Island earlier this month. It was later reported that in trying to make a late payment of $1.1 million, the company gave the state a bad check.
Schilling, an avid gamer even during his years in the majors, was hoping Copernicus would make a dent in the lucrative MMO market largely ruled by World of Warcraft. It was to be the first game developed by 38 Studios. Reckoning was developed by Big Huge Games, a company bought by 38 Studios in 2010.
The White Sox have reportedly picked up first baseman Yonder Alonso from the Indians, according to Stadium. The return for Alonso is expected to be nothing more flashy than a “fringe prospect,” though the minutiae of the deal is still pending a formal announcement from both teams.
Alonso, 31, inked a two-year deal with the Indians during the 2017 offseason. His first campaign with the club yielded a modest .250/.317/.421 batting line, 23 home runs, .738 OPS and 0.7 fWAR in 574 PA. The real boon for the White Sox may not be a passable veteran bat, however, but something more intangible — like Alonso’s clout with his brother-in-law and highly-coveted free agent slugger, Manny Machado.
While Alonso’s 2018 output represented a significant decline from the career-best numbers he posted in 2017, he’s still a solid contributor at the plate and, more importantly, slated to remain under team control for the next two years with just $8 million owed in 2019 and a $9 million option in 2020. As MLB.com’s Anthony Castrovince notes, the $17 million the Indians just erased from their payroll should give them enough room to accommodate the contracts for right-handers Trevor Bauer and Corey Kluber — a bonus regardless of what they happen to get in the trade.