THQ Won’t Walk Away From UFC

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THQ is spreading the blame for the soft sales of UFC 2010 Undisputed but says the franchise has “massive long legs” and that it remains committed to the brand.

It’s never good news for a game franchise when it tanks so hard that its publisher is forced to adjust its annual fiscal projections around it. That’s exactly what happened with UFC 2010 Undisputed; THQ CEO Brian Farrell said the game’s sales were ‘below our expectations and prior-year results,” to the point that the company cut about $60 million from its annual net sales forecast.

But the problem wasn’t the game, according to THQ’s head of marketing Jon Rooke, it was the incredibly poor timing of its release. “We’ve had Red Dead Redemption released one week before us and that sucked, to-date, probably three quarters of a million units from the market,” he told GamesIndustry. “The economy is still in decline – we haven’t come out of recession yet, with VAT set to go up and the [U.K.] government looking for 40 per cent budget cuts… People are nervous about spending.”

“There was that macro-setting, plus we were around the World Cup, which takes out a lot of consumer spending as well,” he continued. “You could even put into there the iPad launch as being on the same weekend – so a lot of things are coming on to it.”

Sales of UFC 2010 are beginning to “settle down to a good, steady pace,” he said, noting that the 2009 edition of UFC Undisputed had continued to perform well seven or eight months after it launched. He also pointed out that with 2.6 million units shipped, UFC 2010 Undisputed is far from a flop.

“It was just that a number of factors, predominantly Red Dead Redemption, sucked so much cash out of the market. When Red Dead had shipped about 5 million we’d shipped about 2.6 million units of UFC globally – so it’s still a massively successful game,” Rooke said. “Just that the expectations might have been that little bit more. You have to step back a bit and recognize that.”

“We’re absolutely not walking away from the brand,” he said. “We’ve got a long term commitment to it as we’ve shown with things like UFC Trainer, and it won’t be long before we start talking about UFC 2011, I’m sure.”

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