THQ’s Troubles Blessing in Disguise

Continuous lay-offs, closing studios and a supposed huge pay cut to upper management, many could be blamed for thinking THQ may or may not be ok in the future. The company has distributed and produced some awesome games in the past and it would be a dark day in Gaming if they were to go under. However, they have been constantly restructuring and changing things to find the dynamic formula.

The dynamic formula is to produce future proof franchises and ip’s which engage audiences and have a fresh feeling every time they try to  hit the cash cow more they get away with it. They recently did this with the successful Saints Row 3.

Saint's Row sold 2.3 Million Copies on 360 alone

Saints Row 3 (developed by Volition Games) is a ‘core’ ip in which built on the successful first two games and marked a return to accessible adult games for THQ whose recent film and tv licences have seen them make the wrong games. Saints Row: The Third (as of 28th January) sold 3.68 million copies worldwide on all platforms with the Xbox 360 selling 2.3 million copies of the overall figure. Looking at the figures, Saints Row: The Third has sold the 3.68 million copies in just under 2 and half months of release. Saints Row 2 which debuted in October 2008 has sold over 4 million copies worldwide to this day. That is a huge bump in sales comparing the lengths of time the games have been on sale. It is interesting to note that Saints Row 2 picked up a 48% increase in 2011 from the sales in 2010 so much that the game sold over half a million copies a year and half AFTER relsease. The same sort of trend for Saints Row 3 could keep THQ and future IP’s in the limelight.

Following an annoymous letter to upper management from an employee, THQ are looking to ditch their tie in genre to focus on the intellectual properties like Saints Row to boost their overall revenue.

Will THQ survive strongly? Consider this a yes.

THQ In Trouble?

According to some in the industry, along with a slate of twitter rumours, game company THQ were apparently cancelling their 2014 line up of games due to financial concerns. Since then, THQ have denied these rumours and insist that their 2014 lineup is still intact.

It may however be a difficult few years for the company as they have closed a lot of studios recently to cut costs and their 2012 lineup is not exactly exciting. The main problem with THQ is they hold licences to minor franchises/properties that have a cult following here in the UK and more of a mainstream following in the US, but not at the level that THQ would want. Take the WWE series along with UFC series. Strong games in respects, they don’t have a big sales quota which most companies garner. However, the turning point came this year when as of December 2011, WWE 12 sold around 850,000 copies worldwide across three platforms. UFC Undisputed 3 will be coming out soon which might have strong sales, but across the internet there isn’t the most amazing buzz about the product. The same can be said for the upcoming Warhammer game which I didn’t even know was coming out until I saw it on the release list. Says a lot really.

Saints Row 3 was easily THQ’s biggest game last year, boasting strong sales and a great reception from the public. The game is beyond crazy and is an amazingly fun ride.

THQ also own properties in the TV and Film game genre with upcoming titles with South Park and Pixar film Brave. The South Park has the potential to pick up big cult sales in the US alone and a good garnering of support from Europe. Brave however may fall into the bin along with most video game/film tie ins.

There is a huge buzz abound for Darksiders II and Metro: Last Light the last of the main releases for  THQ this year alone. Both, being sequels, come off of critically acclaimed games and should be the saviour this company needs right now. Expect THQ to keep scrapping until the next major release comes out, Saints Row 4 anyone?