By Ros Krasny
BOSTON (Reuters) - The troubled video gaming company run by former Red Sox baseball great Curt Schilling seemed on the verge of collapse on Thursday and had laid off its entire staff, according to several gaming industry websites and other media.
The apparent firings by 38 Studios came days after the company, based in Providence, Rhode Island, barely made a debt repayment to the state, weeks after the money was due.
The Verge.com said 38 Studios had closed its Rhode Island office and its Maryland-based subsidiary, Big Huge Games.
WPRI, a Providence television station, said 38 Studios told its employees that they were laid off effective immediately, as the company experienced "an economic downturn."
38 Studios, formed in 2006 as the brainchild of avid gamer Schilling, had 379 full-time employees as of March 15.
The company received a $75 million taxpayer-backed loan guarantee from Rhode Island in 2010 as an incentive to move its headquarters from Massachusetts. It has received almost $50 million of those funds, according to the state.
Last week, when the company struggled to make a $1.1 million payment, it failed to meet payroll. Two top executives, including Chief Executive Officer Jen MacLean, quit this week and removed 38 Studios from their LinkedIn profiles, according to the Boston Globe.
Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee, who opposed the 38 Studios deal when he ran for office in 2010, and other state officials have had a series of emergency meetings with Schilling over the past week.
During that time other video game companies have held job fairs in Providence to attract some of the company's embattled - and now available - workers.
Schilling, a New England sports hero who helped bring a World Series back to Boston in 2004 and has also been a prominent backer of conservative politicians, has avoided talking to the media in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, Schilling said on Facebook that his team "has shown breathtaking resilience through these incredibly challenging times."
Pledged as collateral to Rhode Island against the loan are the present and future rights to "Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning," the video game launched in February, and those to an elaborate, multi-player game code-named "Project Copernicus," which is still in development.
(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)
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