THQ in turmoil?

THQ have had an interesting week to say the very least. Starting with strong rumours of a sale and culminating in a slew of layoffs, the past few days have just been a steady drip-feed of news based on the publisher. So here it all is:

Towards the beginning of the week, a flurry of talk began to emanate around the publisher, claiming they were ready to sell up. Various sources in the industry claimed they were so cash-strapped and desperate to sell, that the entire 2014 line-up of games was being cancelled. Their much-hyped Warhammer MMO project also looked to be dead.

48 hours on, THQ issued a statement on a new business strategy – leaving the kids market. They were keen to point out that the company will continue to produce top games, but it sounded a lot like your typical positive PR spin. One telling sentence though; “THQ will be a more streamlined organization focused only on our strongest franchises“.

This was followed by talk of how well Saint’s Row is doing, so basically they’re now cutting costs by only concentrating on their one money-making series. All their eggs are most definitely in one basket (that basket also containing a few fart grenades, octopus launchers and “adult toys” of course…) so expect to see a lot more of the franchise, in a kind of Tony Hawk/Guitar Hero/Call of Duty type deal.

Finally, THQ had this to say yesterday:

“THQ confirms a reduction in force to the company’s administration and publishing organization. As recently announced, the company is exiting the kids’ licensed games category, and is focusing on its core game franchises and developing its digital initiatives.”

The number of layoffs weren’t confirmed, but as always, it’s sad to see people lose their jobs in this industry – we hope they’ll land on their feet working under another publisher quite soon. This news also comes after 30 cuts were made last month, from the relatively new uDraw team. Related to the subject of ex-employees, a team of them wrote to THQ regarding the senior management. They claimed four executives (one of which being the CEO) were “underqualified” and the layoffs were due to “chronic and constant mismanagement”.

Strong words, and understandably so from their position. As for THQ though, it looks like worrying times ahead. We’ll certainly see in the next year or so whether the aforementioned Saint’s Row, along with franchises like WWE and UFC, can save them. Or, one of the big players in the gaming industry being taken away by the recession. Only time will tell, but hopefully, they can go back to the drawing board (maybe even use a uDraw) and come up with a few new IP’s to improve their fortunes in 2012.

[sources: Edge, CVG, GameInformer]

Written by Raj Mahil

Game collector. Journalism graduate. Batman addict. Movie goer. WWE nut. Sports obsessive. Arsenal fan. Sub-Editor.

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