Take-Two Boss Predicts the End of THQ

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Take-Two Boss Predicts the End of THQ

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Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick says THQ will be dead and buried in six months.

THQ is in trouble. Five years ago its share price was over $36; today it's a fight to keep it above 50 cents. It's struggling to avoid NASDAQ delisting, laying off employees and even downgrading the planned Warhammer 40K MMO to a single-player game. But in the eyes of Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick, Brian Farrell and company are just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Zelnick said at the MIT Business in Gaming conference that THQ's biggest problem is an over-reliance on licensed properties, which leaves it at the mercy of the license holders. Making a popular licensed game can actually turn around and bite a publisher when it comes time to renew the license, because it will have to pay more to keep the rights to a property it helped make popular in the first place.

But he was also blunt about another of THQ's issues: Most of its games just aren't all that exciting. Take-Two has had its fair share of financial issues too, a fact acknowledged by Zelnick, but in terms of their franchise stables there's just no comparison. Take Two brings all things Rockstar to the table, plus BioShock, Civilization and, hopefully, Xcom. THQ's biggest titles are Saints Row, WWE, UFC and Warhammer 40K, none of which, with the possible exception of Saints Row, can be considered a true heavyweight.

"The most important difference is quality. Take-Two has the highest quality ratings among third-party publishers, according to Metacritic and most people in the industry. Quality really, really, really matters. THQ has had some good games, but their quality levels aren't even remotely... the quality hasn't measured up," he said. "[The] strategy didn't work and the execution was bad. To put it another way: the food was no good and the portions were small."

The bottom line? "THQ won't be around in six months," he said.

Source: Joystiq

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i love saints row this is such a shame if it's true.i mean with a graph like that in the post it takes alot of innovation of a business model to pull it back. its harder than you think to just start creating original content

Just release the 40k RPG and all will be well
...
...
...
right?

i hope not i like there games well the ones for the genres i like and Strauss i hope karma doesn't bite you in the ass

Idk, the last THQ game I really liked was Titan Quest. Everything since then hasn't really seemed all that interesting. The upcoming 40k RPG looks promising. At first I didn't really care about that because I personally don't care for MMORPGs, but an RPG?... done right, I could like that.
But unless it is something really amazing, I doubt it'd pull them out of the gutter.

So long as I get my Metro:Last light I don't care.

tony2077:
i hope not i like there games well the ones for the genres i like and Strauss i hope karma doesn't bite you in the ass

Why would Karma bite him? He's made and sourced his observation, and isn't being a dick about it.

That's too bad, THQ got some good games, but still this isn't a surprise. They haven't really strck gold with any of their recent releases. Hopefully this prophecy wont be fulfilled and we can get some new quality games.

Richardplex:

tony2077:
i hope not i like there games well the ones for the genres i like and Strauss i hope karma doesn't bite you in the ass

Why would Karma bite him? He's made and sourced his observation, and isn't being a dick about it.

don't you know karma's a bitch

I always considered Warhammer 40k to be a pretty big heavy weight. Space Marine alone sold a couple million copies. To be honest Take2 is a company I never found very appealing, not THQ.

RETAKE VOLITION! Before it's too late!

Well in a couple of months Darksiders 2 will come out so we will see how that does. Only other game I can think of they have coming out very soon is Nexius but I doubt that's going to light up.

Volition killed the saints with the third and the last game that was really great was the Punisher.

DVS BSTrD:
RETAKE VOLITION! Before it's too late!

I think its too late.

When a developer can take the brilliant (but slightly flawed)Red Faction: Guerrilla and turn it into the turd that was Armageddon and then also take the amazing fun that was Saints Row 1 and 2 and then crap out Saints Row The Third, I think that developer's time has passed.

With such titles under their belt as... umm... Games Explosion!, I don't think I'd miss 'em too much if they disappeared.

P.S. Thanks

mad825:
So long as I get my Metro:Last light I don't care.

I was thinking that too. They aren't all terrible bringing us Metro 2033 and as the original publisher of STALKER:SoC. Then again that was a long time ago.

mad825:
So long as I get my Metro:Last light I don't care.

This. I also hope Vigil and Relic survives this. Someone like Eidos/Square-Enix should pick them up.

Packie_J:

mad825:
So long as I get my Metro:Last light I don't care.

This. I also hope Vigil and Relic survives this. Someone like Eidos/Square-Enix should pick them up.

How about someone aside from Square-Enix who sit on a ton of series doing nothing with them while destroying their own brand with stupidity.

"Oh a publisher lies passed out with broken legs over there! Let's poke him with a stick!"
Sounds more like someone is twirrling his mustache while sitting on a high horse. I hope in six month this horse has an unpleasent encounter with a badger hole.

The purpose of this waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssss??? I think someones BMW was repossessed or premantly borrowed without leaving a note.

quick!! some one save relic!!

THQ are a bit of a shit company. Besides SR3 and Metro 2033 I can't think of any game I have actually liked in the last 10 years.

Captca: modern love

Awwww

Lunar Templar:
quick!! some one save relic!!

To put the 'Titanic' scenario to use, put Vigil and Relic on the lifeboats, leave Volition on the ship.

If Relic goes down I probably won't see a decent RTS for half a decade.

I don't know how you fuck up with War40k and Saint's Row, but they certainly did it.

Thats wat they get for even daring to market that uDraw thing.

Seriously, who thought that was even a serviceable idea on anything but the Wii?

80Maxwell08:

Packie_J:

mad825:
So long as I get my Metro:Last light I don't care.

This. I also hope Vigil and Relic survives this. Someone like Eidos/Square-Enix should pick them up.

How about someone aside from Square-Enix who sit on a ton of series doing nothing with them while destroying their own brand with stupidity.

I was talking about the Eidos side specifically, you know the part of the company that isn't ran by clueless morons.

I hope THQ survives this hard time.

The stuff he says is pretty funny though. For instance, he says THQ adheres to way too many licensed titles. Brian Farrell's assessment is that it's because he spent copious amounts of money on new properties that did not pan out, and not because of reliance on licensed properties. THQ's licensed properties did not fail to perform, it was the various attempts at the new properties that failed to perform. The only titles they have had that are keeping them afloat is the licensed titles.

As a side note, Take-Two had two commercial flops last year, Duke Nukem Forever and LA Noir. I think it's funny that he using Metacritic as a metric for the quality of their games. They make and have made some fine games. I don't think his view of THQ is all the researched though.

Packie_J:

80Maxwell08:

Packie_J:

This. I also hope Vigil and Relic survives this. Someone like Eidos/Square-Enix should pick them up.

How about someone aside from Square-Enix who sit on a ton of series doing nothing with them while destroying their own brand with stupidity.

I was talking about the Eidos side specifically, you know the part of the company that isn't ran by clueless morons.

Eidos is just a developer though aren't they?

Well, to be honest I think the problem is the quality, Take Two is right on the money about that. I look at say "Saint's Row The Third" and compare it to say "Saint's Row 2" and they cut a lot of corners compared to the second game, and also seemed to recycle a lot of assets from the previous game. The costume options aren't as detailed, entire mini-games that were missing are now gone, there aren't multiple fighting styles anymore... and well, a lot of things. When I look at things on the 40k front, their last game was a mess where they kind of replaced the goodness of "Dark Crusade" and "Soulstorm" with a mess of using a number of differant factions to do the same set of missions which might not even make sense for the faction in question...

The point is that THQ CAN do good work, and I think their position 5 years ago was the result of that potential, but ever since it seems like they have wanted to jump on the same "hold as much back as possible" bandwagon and their products have suffered and the company is feeling it.

THQ might not recover simply because they are in a position where they need big bucks to invest in new projects to pull themselves out, but their current track record makes it unlikely they will get that kind of funding.

If THQ goes under I'd imagine the 40k liscence will be sold to someone else by Game's Workshop, and Saint's Row will probably wind up being auctioned off or going with a few of the honchos for them to pimp out while they look for a new job/employer.

A lot might be hinging on this 40k RPG, but the big question is when they could get that game out there.... I haven't heard anything about it being near completion in any form, and it doesn't seem like they have a couple of years to work on it given that they need a success right now... the kind of success that rushing it out won't give them.

80Maxwell08:

Packie_J:

80Maxwell08:

How about someone aside from Square-Enix who sit on a ton of series doing nothing with them while destroying their own brand with stupidity.

I was talking about the Eidos side specifically, you know the part of the company that isn't ran by clueless morons.

Eidos is just a developer though aren't they?

Eidos interactive have become Square Enix Europe. I think they had a lot of influence on the company's infrastructure. (e.g the recent reboots of eidos IPs, publishing that True Crime game which was abandoned by Activision...etc.)

Packie_J:

80Maxwell08:

Packie_J:

I was talking about the Eidos side specifically, you know the part of the company that isn't ran by clueless morons.

Eidos is just a developer though aren't they?

Eidos interactive have become Square Enix Europe. I think they had a lot of influence on the company's infrastructure. (e.g the recent reboots of eidos IPs, publishing that True Crime game which was abandoned by Activision...etc.)

Ah well then. I would say I'm in agreement though I do wonder if there would be a better publisher. Maybe Take Two themselves here but I don't know how much money they could spare.

Sounds like somebody's shorted the stock.

I'm quite glad I didn't actually invest, like I wanted to earlier this year. I figured they might make a comeback, unfortunately that seems unlikely

You got SR3,Metero:last light and Darksiders 2

are the only heavy hitters they got. Saint's Row 3 could selling well and thanks to whacky DLC and word of mouth spreading it could help them. You better hope Metro actually sells some units and Darksiders II has to make a huge splash and try to win some awards that could help it out.

Maybe not. Tide comes in, tide goes out. Its just a natural cycle of things. If they arent making good games, then the company needs to fail so that the people working there can be redistributed to elsewhere in the industry where they can contribute to projects that DO work.

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