Although it was once best-known for its kids' film license tie-in games, THQ has big changes underway, focused intently on upcoming core titles like Homefront
and reducing the number of movie licenses with which it'll engage.
The publisher has seen a "slowdown in console titles aimed at children," as CEO Brian Farrell said on the investor call following its holiday quarter financial results, in which it reported a loss
But although the company will still apply a portion of its focus to the children's audience, it wants to do so in a more careful way, says Farrell: "We have re-evaluated our kids movie-based licenses and have lowered our expectations for games in this segment."
A stand-out during the company's past quarter was its uDraw tablet, which shipped 1.2 million units through the end of the year since its release November 14.
Farrell believes this is an example of the kind of youth-oriented product that can still do well on the market, and said THQ will continue to support the peripheral with more games, notably a SpongeBob title, throughout the year.
Its colorful, family-friendly De Blob
will get a sequel, and De Blob 2
"will be available for the first time on multiple platforms, including a 3D version on the [PS3]," said Farrell. The company also maintains its multi-year licensing deal with toymaker Mattel, through which it hopes to deliver "new patterns and gaming experiences" based on popular properties like Barbie and Hot Wheels.
"The single-player kids' games, particularly those based on movie licenses, were the ones that showed the most weakness," Farrell explained. "What we learned this holiday season is new stuff, innovative stuff... you do something new and consumers, especially kids, respond to that."
"The single-player, 'see the movie, play the game' experience is what seems, at this time, not to be working," he added.