THQ has announced that it is reorganizing into three separate business units which will allow it to more effectively focus on the development of core, casual and online games.
THQ executive Danny Bilson has been promoted to head the Core Games division, while Doug Clemmer will assume responsibility for Kids, Family and Casual Games and Steve Dauterman will handle Online Games. All three will report directly to THQ CEO Brian Farrell. “The new structure specifically aligns our primary business units with our product strategy, enabling each team to focus on planning and execution in highly defined product areas with full profit and loss responsibility,” Farrell said. “I look forward to working directly with Danny, Doug, Steve and Ian [Curran, vice president of global publishing] to execute on our focused strategic plan.”
While this may not be the most exciting news you read all day, particularly on a day in which id Software is bought out by Bethesda and Mark Jacobs leaves Mythic after it merges with BioWare, it is interesting in light of THQ’s struggles over the past couple of years. In March, industry analyst Mike Hickey said THQ had a 50/50 chance of going bankrupt, pointing out that the company was running out of money and had no realistic prospects of coming up with more anytime soon. The company is also looking at the downhill slope of its licensing deal with Pixar, a deal which may not have produced games of great quality but was nonetheless very lucrative.
Farrell predicted in early May that THQ would turn things around in 2010 after it was reported that the company had lost over $430 million in its 2007/2008 fiscal year, which ended in March. At the time, he said core game development was becoming increasingly risky, with break-even points steadily rising, while break-evens on casual and kids games were significantly lower. Prior to that, in February, THQ announced that it was cutting the development of core titles in order to focus on the casual and online markets instead.
Among the core games THQ has in the pipeline this year are Darksiders and MX vs. ATV Reflex, while Homefront and Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine are scheduled to launch in 2010. While it’s not necessarily a top-to-bottom lineup of world-beaters, Bilson expressed confidence that the new structure would help rejuvenate THQ’s core business. “By managing core games as a comprehensive business unit, my team can leverage our creative, development and marketing talents to deliver hit titles that resonate with our discriminating audience,” he said.