Schilling's 38 Studios mulls move out of Mass.
Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling said he would love to keep his video-game company in Massachusetts, but if other states are willing to play ball with him on tax incentives, he might move.
Schilling said he has held talks with Rhode Island officials about relocating Maynard-based 38 Studios LCC to the Ocean State.
"We're in preliminary discussions around all of that right now," said Schilling.
And not just with Rhode Island. Schilling said that he's been talking to several other states that are interested in his growing company. The former ace wouldn't identify the other states, but said they're eager to attract the company he started four years ago.
"We have all the things any state in the country would want right now," Schilling said. "We're hearing from states that don't have programs talking about putting programs in place for us."
Schilling said he plans to hire several hundred people over the next few years.
"They're very high paying jobs, around $85,000 a year, they're permanent jobs and the industry is growing," he said.
Keith Stokes, executive director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corp., said yesterday that he's met with Schilling twice. But he said they were early-stage discussions, similar to those that he has with out-of-state businesses every day.
Schilling has not ruled out staying in Massachusetts and has been speaking with officials here for six to eight months about possible incentives to stay put. "We've had no indication that they planned to relocate. But we will be meeting with them in the upcoming days," said Kofi Jones, spokeswoman for secretary of housing and economic development Gregory Bialecki. "We'd be more than willing to have any conversation, as we would with any company."
Earlier this month, 38 Studios landed a deal to have its first game published by Electronic Arts Inc., one of the biggest companies in the games industry. That game is being developed by the company's Maryland team.
Schilling said his quest for tax breaks was partly inspired by the success of Massachusetts' incentives for filmmakers. Schilling lives in Medfield, which saw an economic surge during the 2008 filming of Leonardo DiCaprio film "Shutter Island."
"I'm looking at two or three companies in Medfield that literally would be out of business if that film had not been shot," Schilling said.
He predicted that a similar incentive for videogame companies would have a greater impact. "It's like the film tax credit on steriods," Schilling said.
The Providence Journal orginally reported that Schilling was in talks with Rhode Island officials.
Like Massachusetts, Rhode Island offers tax credits to movie companies. But Rhode Island applies the same incentives to videogame developers. The incentive compensates movie and game companies for 25 percent of the money they spend in Rhode Island on production costs.
Though Schilling left no doubt that he'll follow the money, he said that he hopes to remain in Massachusetts. "This is where we started," he said. "this is where we want to be."
Below, watch a video interview from last year that Hiawatha Bray conducted with Schilling about the game studio.