THQ is really seeing some tough times lately, though whether it’s on par with the disaster that Curt Schilling turned 38 Studios and Big Huge Games into is a completely different story. Considering the former has been in the industry with us since I was born, that’s a pretty unfortunate turn of events.
Where do I even begin with the mess that THQ has been in lately? What proof is there that this is something that is truly happening? For those of you who have not been keeping up with the unfortunate state that is THQ, they’ve canceled a fair number of games, they’ve had massive layoffs of nearly a fifth of the entire company while dropping off the public market, they’ve hit great lows on their stocks (at the time of writing, it’s down to 0.720), and now they’ve lost one of their biggest franchises to EA: UFC.
According to President of UFC, Dana White:
“Over the last three years, THQ has delivered best-in-class, all-encompassing experiences to MMA fans, sports enthusiasts and fighting gamers around the globe with its UFC Undisputed™ series. We want to thank them for their stewardship of our brand. We look forward to joining forces with EA to leverage their sports platform, and expand our brand in the video game space.”
Per THQ Chairman and CEO, whose pay was docked upon the 17 percent of layoffs in the company, Brian Farrell:
“We have relished our relationship with UFC over the last several years and believe that the UFC gaming brand is in great shape. THQ’s more focused strategy moving forward meant that transferring the license to EA made sense to all parties. We would like to thank UFC for their great support and partnership and wish EA all the best moving forward.”
It would be kind of funny to reminisce one particular rant White went on just three years earlier if we weren’t currently talking about the potential death of a long-standing company. But I digress.
So what does this mean for THQ? Whatever it is, it’s not looking very good. While I personally have always dreamed of seeing THQ pass on the WWE license to EA, I can’t imagine that’s something that’s going to happen while keeping THQ afloat. Perhaps going back to their roots would help them spurn a little additional cash flow to get them back up to something at least a little bit stable.
For example, remember back when THQ used to make kids games? I know that’s not necessarily something you or I will go out and buy, but maybe you have children, or maybe you have a niece or a nephew, and just maybe there are plenty of parents out there who are willing to buy their kids games; THQ used to make plenty of money of those, but since they dropped the kiddie gloves and went full on for violence, they’ve lost a large market they once helped dominate.
The next big mistake they made—besides continuing to make half-decent WWE games instead of selling the rights—was the uDraw. I can see where the idea seemed good on paper given the wealth of tablets and its rise in popularity, but it just didn’t translate well. Okay, so Wii users bought them fine, but given the fact that the community has also grown attached to their DS and 3DS consoles, that’s to be expected; bringing them out to the Xbox 360 and PS3 were the biggest mistakes of them all.
I can only hope that THQ figures out a way to plug the hole of their sinking ship and get back to their old roots before they made rash decisions that hindered their sales and alienated their fans. If they can’t manage to do that, then, well… it’s been great knowing you.