24% of THQ staff cut after $192 million Q3 loss

More than 600 workers pink-slipped after 30% revenue decline; Saints Row 2 ships more than 2.6 million, WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 tops 4 million.

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Anyone hoping that the Bataan Death March of gloomy game-publisher earning reports would end soon saw their prayers go unheeded this week. The day after Electronic Arts reported a $641 million loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2008, THQ turned in its financial numbers for the same period.

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The three months saw the Saints Row 2 publisher suffer a net loss of $191.8 million ($2.86 per share), way down from the $15.5 million profit ($0.23 cents per share) that it reported during the same period in 2007. Overall, THQ's October-December revenue fell 30 percent year-on-year from $509.6 million (2007) to $357.3 million (2008).

As a result of its financial shortfall, THQ plans to lay off 24 percent of its worldwide workforce, or 600 people. The announcement comes three months after THQ closed five internal studios and streamlined another two. Just 10 days later, it announced that it was trimming back its release schedule to just one or two games for the hardcore market each year.

"We delivered high-quality games to market this holiday season, but fell short of our revenue and profit targets in this challenging environment," said Farrell in a statement. "We are taking highly targeted actions with the objective of investing in games with the highest franchise potential and returning to profitability. We have executed on our previously announced plan to reduce our cost structure by $120 million. Given continued economic weakness, we plan to reduce costs by an additional $100 million."

THQ's losses came despite what looked like solid numbers for some of the holiday releases to which Farrell referred. The decently received WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009 shipped--not sold--more than 4 million units, followed by the better-regarded Saints Row 2 with 2.6 million units. The critically praised de Blob shipped some 700,000 units.

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