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Subject: Curt Schilling's video game venture explodes... what does this mean for MMP? rss

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Martin Gallo
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According to a post on CSW MMP is a separate company and is not affected. I hope that is true.
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I'm not aware of the connection between Shilling, 38 Studios, and MMP. Can someone enlighten me?
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As a gamer, I sometimes have complaints with how MMP runs the business. They don't release games as quickly as I would like, they don't keep everything in stock the way I would like, and they don't take enough risks with interesting subject matter that I want to play.

What does that really mean though? Typically, that MMP are making careful decisions and protecting their bottom line first and foremost.


The whole 38 Studios debacle is terrifying and saddening to watch. But when MMP says they don't expect that to affect their business, I tend to believe them.
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wolvendancer wrote:
I'm not aware of the connection between Shilling, 38 Studios, and MMP. Can someone enlighten me?
He started MMP so that ASL could stay in print, after Avalon Hill closed their doors.

See correction here:
pzjg1 wrote:
MMP began in 1994 when we released Backblast, an ASL fanzine, and was comprised of four AH ASL playtesters and a guy who had some layout skills. Avalon Hill had made the decision that ASL was "dead" and we wanted to keep seeing some new scenarios, etc.

Curt didn't become involved until sometime around the end of 1995 when he was also attempting to buy the rights for ASL from Avalon Hill. We had been working with AH by then on the restarted ASL and Avalon Hill didn't want to sell the rights (read: they thought geez, we can fleece this guy, lets ask for the moon!) but wanted him involved (name value, something the Dott's - the owners of AH - did recognize, having put Tom Clancy on the AH Board of Directors somewhere around then as well). So, to make a long story short, AH told Curt about us, we met, he joined the company, and its been that way since then.
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Mark D
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Quote:
Schilling has publicly said he already put $30 million into the company, and he told state officials he did not have any more money to invest, despite a lucrative baseball career during which he earned $114 million.


I take this to say that Schilling still has plenty of money, he just decided not to invest anymore of it in the video game studio. That 114 is just from his playing career, so who knows how much more he has via investments and money made outside of his salary (endorsements). So MMP is fine.
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HuginnGreiling wrote:
wolvendancer wrote:
I'm not aware of the connection between Shilling, 38 Studios, and MMP. Can someone enlighten me?
He started MMP so that ASL could stay in print, after Avalon Hill closed their doors.


Thanks for this, HG.

Given Schilling's gasbag pontificating about how people (and businesses) should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and not receive help from the gub'mint, this entire farce leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Taking tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, dissembling to idiot lawmakers about how likely a ROI was going to be, then banking it all on a risky scheme that even casual video game industry analysts would say was close to insanity (buying a second studio with an almost-completed game, investing millions to rebrand that game, then release it needing the game to be a smash hit so that you can continue development on the studio's original project), all why bloviating about handouts and whatnot... blech. Add to all of that the fact that some are reporting he reimbursed himself for his own investment with Rhode Island money before investing the remainder, and you have a very sordid business, indeed.

If MMP is in any way affiliated with Schilling, and it seems they are, I'll have a hard time supporting them in the future.
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WebBard wrote:
Quote:
Schilling has publicly said he already put $30 million into the company, and he told state officials he did not have any more money to invest, despite a lucrative baseball career during which he earned $114 million.


I take this to say that Schilling still has plenty of money, he just decided not to invest anymore of it in the video game studio. That 114 is just from his playing career, so who knows how much more he has via investments and money made outside of his salary (endorsements). So MMP is fine.


Worth noting that not all sports figures make good investments, and many have expensive spending habits. (For example, the $30 million Schilling dropped here looks as if it will largely be a write-off edit: unless the speculation above is correct about paying himself back first... which certainly would seem pretty lame.)

Hopefully Schilling isn't badly hurt by the loss, but don't assume he's got bottomless pockets despite huge earnings from his sports career.
 
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Jonathan Harrison
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wolvendancer wrote:
HuginnGreiling wrote:
wolvendancer wrote:
I'm not aware of the connection between Shilling, 38 Studios, and MMP. Can someone enlighten me?
He started MMP so that ASL could stay in print, after Avalon Hill closed their doors.


Thanks for this, HG.

Given Schilling's gasbag pontificating about how people (and businesses) should pull themselves up by their bootstraps and not receive help from the gub'mint, this entire farce leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Taking tens of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, dissembling to idiot lawmakers about how likely a ROI was going to be, then banking it all on a risky scheme that even casual video game industry analysts would say was close to insanity (buying a second studio with an almost-completed game, investing millions to rebrand that game, then release it needing the game to be a smash hit so that you can continue development on the studio's original project), all why bloviating about handouts and whatnot... blech. Add to all of that the fact that some are reporting he reimbursed himself for his own investment with Rhode Island money before investing the remainder, and you have a very sordid business, indeed.

If MMP is in any way affiliated with Schilling, and it seems they are, I'll have a hard time supporting them in the future.

I don't follow sports, so I wasn't aware of any of this.

However, Curt didn't start MMP so that he could make money (those margins aren't making him rich); he started it so he could continue playing ASL—he's known to take it with him on the road and play during the season.

So I myself won't have any difficulty buying from MMP. Like I said, at wargaming profit margins, the money goes first to keep the employees in business, and I doubt it ever goes far enough to line his pockets in any significant way.

Since MMP was started as a way to make wargames accessible that otherwise wouldn't have been, the last thing I want to do is effectively displace any anger I might have against him onto the designers who lovingly and painstakingly create wargames for the community, or the people at MMP who pour their time into developing and publishing them. I don't want to punish the heroes of the community for someone else's bad behavior.
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Dr Caligari
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Somehow, I don't believe this is how the "free" market is supposed to work. Seems the state of Rhode Island loaned the company some $49 million, and now the company has gone bust.

Will Rhode Island get its money back? Or is this another case of a government bail out of a failed business at tax payer expense? Chances are that Rhode Island will only get pennies to the dollar from a bankruptcy court, and Schilling and the other investors will walk away with their millions.

I don't live in Rhode Island, but if I did, I'd be ready with the torch and pitchfork.
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Iain K
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wolvendancer wrote:

If MMP is in any way affiliated with Schilling, and it seems they are, I'll have a hard time supporting them in the future.


Or, and this is just an -or- here. You could purchase games based upon their own merit and stop, ironically enough, pontificating.



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Wilhammer wrote:
I posted earlier on this; it got RSP treatment.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/804996/curt-shilling-video-g...

For obvious reasons, reading your actual posts in the thread.
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Dr Caligari
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OK, I'll calm down. I'll behave and let's all keep the rants in Willhammer's (thanks!) RSP thread so as not to derail this one, which is really about the impact of this on MMP.
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Wilhammer wrote:
[T]his thread should at least be in AWOL, I think.

No, Wargames: General is exactly where I'd expect to see a thread of this sort, asking not about the video game situation, but about the MMP situation. Helpful here, where people who buy from MMP will see it.
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michael connor
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Looks like he'll be hitchhiking to the Consimworld Expo this year.
 
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Maybe GMT will pick up MMP... it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to hobby, especially after seeing Hasbro picking up Avalon Hill, nothing will ever phase me ever again.
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Yes, I am deleting my posts...best to keep my thoughts on this solely in RSP.
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martimer wrote:
According to a post on CSW MMP is a separate company and is not affected. I hope that is true.


As one would expect... different business entities.

I love the anonymous comment I read on one of the stories of his debacle:

"The obnoxious self-righteousness of liberals who accuse everyone but themselves of oppression is topped only by the obnoxious self-righteousness of conservatives who accuse everyone but themselves of freeloading."
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Garfink wrote:
Maybe GMT will pick up MMP... it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to hobby, especially after seeing Hasbro picking up Avalon Hill, nothing will ever phase me ever again.

I'd rather keep some diversity of developmental thought. A little healthy competition is a good thing.

Give me coexisting difference over amalgamation any time ... and I'm afraid such a buyout would eventually lead to amalgamation. Companies can get monolithic in their development styles over time (witness Columbia), and I'd be happy to see MMP and GMT continue as the two semi-competing halves of the mainstream wargaming market.

Of course, a GMT buyout would be infinitely preferable to shuttering.
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Wow, just wow. I think you'd have to work hard to find a BGG thread with as much ignorant bloviating. Well done, gentlemen, really. Rarely have I witnessed such genuine old-fashioned internet gasbagery.

There ought to be an award for this nonsense. Maybe the Gabby Johnson Internet Gibberish Award.

http://youtu.be/ke5Mr5eCF2U
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Brian Morris
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Garfink wrote:
Maybe GMT will pick up MMP... it wouldn't be the worst thing to happen to hobby, especially after seeing Hasbro picking up Avalon Hill, nothing will ever phase me ever again.


It would be a horrible thing. Don't get me wrong. I think very highly of GMT. I started the GMT P500 geeklist here and own more GMT games than games from any other publisher. However I think the wargaming hobby today is stronger than ever because there isn't just one 500 pound gorilla controlling the market.

Back in the 70s, 80s and early 90s Avalon Hill had a stranglehold on wargaming. Great company but monopolies even by great companies are never a good thing. Part of the reason the wargaming hobby has been so strong the last 10 years is because we've had multiple companies. These companies push each other to make better games, better graphics and better components. I don't think GMT would be the company it is today if it didn't have to compete with MMP. They push each other to raise the bar.

If MMP were to vanish that would leave GMT in a similar position Avalon Hill was in for so many years and I much prefer several healthy companies pushing each other to make better and better games to just one company having what would be in effect a monopoly.

Mind it seems very unlikely that that will happen or that there is any threat to MMP here. MMP is a separate company and Schilling is only a part of the operation.
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Fair enough, change GMT to Fantasy Flight or maybe Phalanx Games... (Jesting of course.)
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Garfink wrote:
Fair enough, change GMT to Fantasy Flight ...

* takes gun and ... *
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MeGusta wrote:
Reading back through 38 Studios' plan of expecting a new studio's first game to sell 3 million copies, this was inevitable. I hope Curt runs MMP with more governance!


Looks like it sold a little over 300,000 copies in the US. Respectable, but not for a company with 400 employees.

Overhead killed them, I imagine. Hitching the wagon to R.A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane might have sounded like a great idea, and they have their fanbases, but they are both relics of the 90s when it comes to fantasy fandom.
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Garfink wrote:
Fair enough, change GMT to Fantasy Flight or maybe Phalanx Games... (Jesting of course.)


I suddenly have this image of A Victory Lost coming in one of the coffin sized Fantasy Flight boxes complete with plastic tanks.
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EitherOrlok wrote:
MeGusta wrote:
Reading back through 38 Studios' plan of expecting a new studio's first game to sell 3 million copies, this was inevitable. I hope Curt runs MMP with more governance!


Looks like it sold a little over 300,000 copies in the US. Respectable, but not for a company with 400 employees.


In-house estimates were that they needed to sell 4 million worldwide to continue bare-bones development on their flagship MMO; they barely got half that. It was a complete and utter failure.

In all likelihood, it wasn't the 400 employees or their pet "novelist" that did them in - it was underestimating how much time and money creating a AAA MMORPG costs in the current climate. Which is yet another insanity, because the extraordinary costs of MMOs are common knowledge, and even the major players who manage to limp their MMOs over the goal-line face an extremely competitive environment where most MMOs fail. Should we mention the fact that the premium-development-then-subscription model is all but dead? Lordy.

It was a monumental and entirely predictable clusterfuck from beginning to end. It would be simply be a minor tragedy (hundreds of people are now out of work) were it not also a prime example of the corrupt nature of corporate welfare and "conservatism" in America. It's just a shame it intersects our hobby, even tangentially.
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