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THQ lays off San Diego staff after giving up UFC license
THQ lays off San Diego staff after giving up UFC license
June 5, 2012 | By Eric Caoili

THQ has laid off an undisclosed number of employees at its San Diego studio, following Electronic Arts' announcement on Monday that it had taken over the publisher's Ultimate Fighting Championship license.

The struggling company had exclusively released games based on the mixed martial arts brand since 2009, but EA has secured a multi-year, multi-product partnership with UFC. It's the latest in a number of publishing rights THQ has given up recently, including deals with Marvel (Avengers), Adidas, and DreamWorks.

"THQ confirms that today's announcement regarding the UFC license transition will affect the company's San Diego studio," said the company's communications VP Angela Emery in a statement provided to Gamasutra. "THQ is working closely with those relevant staff to either find possible employment within the company, or potentially with EA."

The UFC franchise was a critical one for THQ, and the most recent release provided a bright spot in an otherwise dark quarter for the company after generating higher-than-expected sales. As part of this transition, EA has made an unspecified cash payment to THQ to end its exclusive partnership with UFC.

The San Diego team is best known for developing multiplatform wrestling game WWE All Stars. THQ purchased the studio from Midway when that publisher went bankrupt in 2009, paying $200,000 plus liabilities to take over the development house and its some 100 employees. The group was previously responsible for Midway's TNA Impact games.

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Benjamin Quintero
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I wonder if this was a Rubin decision. He has a lot of strong (arguably narrow) opinions about how things should happen and is certainly the person to "shake things up". I hope they made the right decision to put him in that position. If THQ continues to fall out of existence I wonder how the finger-pointing will play out.

Morgan Ramsay
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THQ hired Jason Rubin and Jason Kay as the turnaround team only ten days ago. I have great confidence in their abilities; they're both serial entrepreneurs and previously cofounded two companies together. But I'm not sure they, or anyone, could execute a strategic change, exit a major licensing deal, and dismantle the team responsible for the license at a large enterprise in that time frame.

Joe kennedy
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I don't see how they had any choice but to hire him, Danny Bilson isn't any good.
His track record is horrid!!! If THQ goes down he'll be to blame as do Brian Farwell for letting him take control for so long.

At least Rubin has some level of credibility. Finger pointing already in effect!!!!!

Maria Jayne
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I was under the impression UFC was a successfull label for THQ, this is either a shrewd move ahead of the decline in it's popularity or a quick fix to balance the books. If the intention is to focus on it's own brands I wonder where that leaves the WH40k license.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Mike Lopez
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Yet another massive FAIL for THQ. Way to squander one of your only development and publishing successes.

Stewart Spilkin
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That building must be cursed. This is the third THQ studio to close on that site (Concrete, Incinerator, and now these poor folks.)