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Take-Two Predicts that THQ Won't Be Around in 6 Months

By - Source: Joystiq | B 18 comments

Take-Two is trash talking THQ, saying the competing game publisher won't be open for business in six months. Them's fightin' words!

During the MIT Business in Gaming conference, Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick took a shot at THQ, saying the game publisher probably won't be around in six months.

The comment came up while he talked about the difference between his company's strategy on core game development, and that of rival publisher THQ. The latter Rayman company just recently revealed a $56 million loss for the fiscal quarter ending December 31, 2011 -- triple the loss seen in the same timeframe the year before.

Prior to the third quarter results, THQ actually thought earnings would be the largest in the company's history. But according to THQ CEO Brian Farrell, they were (obviously) way wrong. He explained that revenues were lower by about $100 million, and that 1.4 million uDraw units were still in inventory (although they're slated to be sold at some point). He estimated about $80 million of the lost revenue was from units the company didn't sell, and the other $20 million was from lowering the price of what they did sell.

"We would have doubled the profitability in the quarter were it not for uDraw," he said.

In speaking about THQ, the Take-Two CEO said that the rival company's strategy centers on licensed properties like UFC, WWE and intellectual properties (IPs) owned by Hollywood studios, and making games based on those licenses. The problem here is that -- even if a publisher does a great job with a property -- it will have to renegotiate the license in a few years. By then its margins will have decreased because the brand it built up in the gaming space will require a higher licensing fee.

Take-Two, on the other hand, deals with 100-percent owned IPs. He said eventually THQ shifted its strategy to partially using in-house IPs like uDraw, but that doesn't happen overnight. Take-Two also has higher quality products whereas THQ has had some good games.

"The most important difference is quality," he told the audience. "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."

Zelnick then moved on to trash THQ's strategy. "Strategy didn't work and the execution was bad. To put it another way: the food was no good and the portions were small."

"THQ won't be around in six months," he concluded.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    rantoc , April 6, 2012 10:13 AM
    They are one of the few remaining publishers that won't alienate their customers by forcing them to be on-line for single-play and the like. THQ have always been striking me as a fair publisher. And no i don't think they end up bankrupt.
Other Comments
  • 7 Hide
    aftcomet , April 6, 2012 10:08 AM
    Regardless of Take-Two trash-talking, I absolutely love the organization. Their philosophy should be the golden standard of the gaming world. They really focus on outputting the highest quality products. They are against milking a series. That's why they said their IPs aren't an annual affair a la Call of Duty. I'm sure they could easily pump out a garbage version of GTA, BioShock, Max Payne, etc every November, instead their games always have development cycles of 2-3 years. They believe that this is how you maintain sustainability. And they're right. People are dumb. But are they dumb enough to buy the same game every year, even after a certain point? Okay, don't answer that. Anyway, virtually everything Take-Two publishes is high quality stuff.

    As for THQ, they're in serious trouble. I was going to buy stock when it was $5 back in mid-2011 because I thought THQ was too big to not get their shit together. Thank god I didn't, it's selling at 50 cents a share. Who knows, maybe now is actually the best time to buy. Hopefully South Park ends up being a good game. Metro 2033: Last Light is another one. Other than that, they really have no killer app. Well, I guess Metro is a killer app because it'll kill any system right now.
  • 13 Hide
    rantoc , April 6, 2012 10:13 AM
    They are one of the few remaining publishers that won't alienate their customers by forcing them to be on-line for single-play and the like. THQ have always been striking me as a fair publisher. And no i don't think they end up bankrupt.
  • Display all 18 comments.
  • -3 Hide
    Raid3r , April 6, 2012 10:25 AM
    Well that is one way to look at it. My way, is THQ is missing the mark, period. They have had chance after chance and blow it 80% of the time. Spacemarine....imo if they had done the pc community right and given the users the power of dedicated servers they would have acquired what they needed, but they went with P2P=failz. It's just all but destroyed and useless in the end. Dark millennium coming up...more than likely dead to me unless I know for a fact it's not crippled by the internetz and P2P. Go back to the pc roots if you want pc adoration.
  • -5 Hide
    drwho1 , April 6, 2012 11:18 AM
    I love to play the Wrestling games, and for years THQ puts out the best Wrestling game out there. Because they have no competition, there is nothing to challenge them.

    Still they have the SAME bugs for years, they advertise something and then it turns out totally different than they said it would be.

    In short: Quality is not something that THQ is familiar with.
  • 5 Hide
    ojas , April 6, 2012 11:34 AM
    *sigh* i wish volition was with someone else and developing FreeSpace 3...first Interplay and now THQ...poor Volition....
  • 5 Hide
    arson94 , April 6, 2012 12:23 PM
    Well I've already preordered Darksiders 2 so they can go ahead and take that shit to the bank.
  • 8 Hide
    mchuf , April 6, 2012 12:31 PM
    THQ doesn't publish the Rayman games. they never have. Rayman is an Ubisoft franchise. Sloppy research buddy.

    The main problem with THQ is that most of stuff they publish is second tier. Yet they try to sell them as AAA games.
  • 5 Hide
    bucknutty , April 6, 2012 1:07 PM
    All THQ games always seem to have so much potential. I always feel like they are almost there.
    Dawn of War was a good game but it did not have proper wide screen support until the Soul Storm title.
    Dawn of War 2 was just plain bad. They removed everything that made the first game a real time strategy.
    Home Front had the potential to be great game. They needed more than 4 maps, and the maps needed to be better balanced. For example on team starts on a mountain full of trees and shrubs to hide in and the other team has to cross a huge open field. The team in the grass would lose every time. The voice chat was messed up was locked at like 2% of system volume so you could not hear people. Text chat sucked because it was like 4pt baby blue font that was impossible to read.
    Space Marine has a fun single player, multiplayer was always laggy due to a weak P2P system. And the game had very limited resolutions and graphics settings.
    Metro33 is cool.
    The S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games were all cool.
    THQ has not been the best PC game studio but I liked their games I hope they don’t crap out.
  • 1 Hide
    alidan , April 6, 2012 3:06 PM
    loved saints row...
    like most of their games...

    sad that they are really kind of screwed.
  • 4 Hide
    sp0nger , April 6, 2012 3:29 PM
    As long as they still get metro2033 last light and south park out im sure they will be fine
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , April 6, 2012 4:38 PM
    @ mchuf "The main problem with THQ is that most of stuff they publish is second tier. Yet they try to sell them as AAA games."

    I agree,
    Take 2 have had a few lemons too ( Duke Nukem Reboot for one )
    What a lot of people forget is that THQ and Take 2 are the publishers, they're mainly interested in getting their money back from the outlay of the team that produced the games.
    What happens if the Star Players ( Rockstar and Bethesda ) decide to go elsewhere when their contracts are done ? THQ struggles ......
    Activision and Electronic Arts used to also have good names for CREATING, now they're basicly pimps for everbody elses stuff ( Same as THQ and Take 2 )

    So to cut a long story short ... Mr Zelnik is pretty much saying our Hookers are better than yours ;) 
    The only reason anyone takes these people seriously is because there's so much money involved.
  • 1 Hide
    DroKing , April 6, 2012 7:01 PM
    U better not die... Ill be buying Titan Quest and Company of Heroes!!!! Very soon AHHHHH THQ dont go away. You are the last remaining fair publishing company out of all other gay ass publishers such as EA / Ubi / Activihack / Blizzard!
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , April 6, 2012 9:44 PM
    gonna preorder ds2 to help em out
  • 0 Hide
    mightymaxio , April 7, 2012 6:32 AM
    Man i loved THQ back in the day especially with Company of Heroes. Good times for sure a couple years ago.
  • 0 Hide
    zanny , April 7, 2012 8:20 PM
    I wonder if Vigil Games owns the IP on Darksiders or if THQ does. I have a feeling DS2 will be a real big hit, especially since it is launching mid summer without 3 huge competitors coming out in the same quarter as the first game did.

    If THQ goes under, I definitely don't want to see Vigil or Relic belly up, hopefully they could either move to modern self publishing (yea right) or get bought by some publisher that is not EA / Activision / etc.
  • 0 Hide
    every1hasaids , April 9, 2012 11:20 PM
    THQ has the best pc RTS games out there, what they should do is make a new Homeworld game as well as keep making more Company of Heroes games! CoH is the only pc game I play right now as it has almost unlimited replay ability. I've been wanting a new Homeworld for a while now. And Saints Row 3 was a laugh, I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did, even with a few bugs in there.
  • 0 Hide
    mickey21 , April 10, 2012 3:49 AM
    COH is their best franchise and btw wasnt a good fit for the Dawn of War franchise by far. They are way past due on redoing a COH sequel and would have had the stupid udraw money better spent on that. Personally I have liked how THQ has done business with less DRM than most others and fair treatment to the gamers with LAN play support intact for the most part and not dumbing down the whole system to suit consoles. I would hate to see them go under and hopefully they figure their way through before being swallowed up like the others, or left to die.
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