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THQ exits kids' licensed game business
THQ exits kids' licensed game business
January 25, 2012 | By Kris Graft

THQ said on Wednesday that it is exiting the kids' licensed games business, and going forward will focus on "core" gamer titles while expanding its digital business.

It's a big change from a few years ago, when THQ had a solid business based on making kids' licensed games, based on properties such as Spongebob and Pixar's Cars. Now the focus will be on franchises such as Saints Row and Warhammer 40,000.

The publisher said it is "in the process of exiting its relationships with kidsí licensed entertainment companies but will continue to sell certain previously released titles." The company did not state if any THQ jobs would be affected.

THQ CEO Brian Farrell said in a statement, "THQ will be a more streamlined organization focused only on our strongest franchises. The success of Saints Row: The Third is an example of what our revised strategy and focus can achieve."

Farrell said THQ has shipped 3.8 million units of Volition-developed Saints Row: The Third, and is expecting lifetime shipments between 5-6 million units. He said digital add-ons for the game "have resulted in the highest digital revenue of any console title in our history."

The news of THQ's realignment comes as the publisher launches its Facebook and iPad social game, Margaritaville, on which musician Jimmy Buffet consulted.

THQ said its five internal studios are working on the upcoming UFC Undisputed 3 and Darksiders II, as well as Company of Heroes, inSANE, Saints Row, Warhammer 40,000, a new game from Ubisoft's former Assassin's Creed creative director, Patrice Desilets.

The announcement also arrives on the same day an alleged former THQ employee sent a distressing letter to the company's board of directors blaming top executives for making a series of poor decisions that led to layoffs, studio closures, millions spent overpaying for licenses, its share price plummeting, and uDraw's "implosion."

Claiming to represent the interests for other current and former THQ employees, the message (which was sent to a member of gaming community NeoGAF, where it was posted online),†condemns those executives for their "chronic and constant mismanagement of their company," and calls on the board to oust Farrell and other THQ heads.

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Ryan Sizemore
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I'm guessing no more de Blob then...

Ken Love
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Can't help but think that the U-Draw system didn't do much to help them either. :-/

Jamie Mann
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That's a bit harsh...

uDraw on the Wii was a major hit, though THQ were unable to followup with any games for it - Pictionary is the only non-bundled uDraw game to gain any traction.

That said, uDraw on the PS3/Xbox360 was a disaster and THQ has arguably ploughed far too many resources into producing and promoting it on these platforms!

John McMahon
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To paraphrase Zero Punctuation, Saints Row: The Third is almost a real-life mirror of the gang at the beginning of the story. They were corporate dogs selling anything and everything with their brand.

Unfortunately, it seems that was not intentional on THQ's part.

I will not buy another Saints Row game, it has gone the way of GTA.

Doug Poston
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I respectively disagree.

In GTA4 I ended the game with the decision to let a single person live or die.

In Saints Row 3 I ended the game fighting an army of Luchadores on Mars!

I love both games, but they're going in very different directions.

Isaac Chandler
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I agree with Doug. Saints Row has gone a completely different direction than GTA. Its over-the-top and rediculous in everything, while GTA is a lot more serious and down to earth. I couldn't personaly get past the 3rd mission in GTA 4 because it became so boring, but I played Saints Row 3 until I'd gotten 100% completion of the city (89% of the entire game).

Christopher Corbett
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I fear they'll simply repeat their mistakes with a smaller group of IP's. Barring a dramatic change in leadership and/or their approach; there will be no more THQ inside of 2 years. It's too bad, there's a lot of development talent at THQ. It's frustrating to see things like this happen.

Kim Gill
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ummm they just sent out the same press release from 3 yrs ago; did they change the date on it? ;)

Beyond Good and Evil
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People are STILL speculating about WHETHER THQ is going to turn itself around - REALLY?

Give your head a shake people. Really, wake up.

Beyond Good and Evil
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THQ has been in steady decline since 2007 - is there ANY other context where every single year something does worse than it did the year before for 5 years - and yet you would keep expecting a different result the following year?

It's called a TREND, and here it's a trend DOWNWARD over a long period of time.

Put your thinking caps on and try to guess at what this means folks. Hmmmm - that they'll do better next year? Painful.