Q&A with 38 Studios Founder Curt Schilling

Q&A with 38 Studios Founder Curt Schilling

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This week, EA and 38 Studios announced the company’s first title – Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. I had the chance to talk to 38 Studios Founder and Chairman Curt Schilling.

Hooked Gamers: You mentioned earlier all of the platforms you wanted to be involved in, like the iPad and the iPhone. Are you looking into cloud gaming at all?

Curt Schilling: You know what? I think a lot of companies have made the mistake of allowing technology to dictate development. And if you look back on why WoW was successful, one of the reasons was because their art style played just as well on a five-year-old PC as it did on a NASA mainframe, and you and I could sit down and have the same experience regardless of the machine we played on. There’s something to that. [Cloud computing] is going to develop how it develops. We’re not relying on something like that to be a driver for us. If and when it gets mainstream and it becomes a viable option, we’ll look into it.

Hooked Gamers: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Curt Schilling: I’ve been a gamer my whole life. I am that minority two percent that posts, the vocal majority, on the threads and forums and fan sites. You guys moved the needle. Players in the MMO space, they don’t move individually anymore. You play MMOs with your friends, you play with people you know. When you move and play a game in the MMO space, you are moving to play a game your friends are playing. And the forums, those websites, those fan sites, that focus on talking to the thought leaders as the consumers, we recognize -- and we have forever -- that the relationship we will have going forward is a big deal to us. Because the gamers, generally, they don’t read the Wall Street Journal or the NY Times. They go to the websites of the MMORPGs to find out “What do I want to play? What am I going to play? Why am I going to play this?” And when they post in those forums, they are making purchasing decisions for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of other consumers.

So, it’s not about us making you like us for reasons other than we have a great product and we’re a great company. Our goal is to create the best guest experience we can possibly create for a consumer. And that entails everything. Again from account creation, to community forums, to customer service, all those things, and we only get one shot to make that first impression.

Hooked Gamers: So you’re planning on having a very active relationship with gamers in the forums?

Curt Schilling: Absolutely. I don’t know if you know Fires of Heaven at all. Fires of Heaven was a website, a very edgy one. But I’ve been posting on there for four years. I’ve always interacted with the community, when I was with the Phillies and when I was with the Red Sox. I always talked to fans on some obscure fan sites because I grew up a fan. I was a gamer long before I was in game development. I know what it is like to wait two years for a game that is been hyped, to log in and play the game and go, “Wow, this sucks.” And there’s a lot to be learned in and around those forums and those websites.