THQ makes most of its money from the standard model of $60 retail packaged games, but the company's newly appointed president thinks those days may be numbered. Speaking with Game Informer in a recently published interview, THQ president Jason Rubin said gaming is moving away from the area in which his company specializes.
"As time progresses, the entire industry will move closer to what we see in the PC model emerging now, which is a lot of different-sized games and different types of games that all get a place in the sun because you can buy things that aren't $60 boxed goods," Rubin said.
THQ's previous attempts to expand beyond that model have met with limited success. The microtransaction-driven Company of Heroes game was cancelled while still in beta form, its WWE free-to-play game for the Asian market was scuttled before even getting that far, and the subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium was changed to a traditional RPG partway through development. Last year, the publisher also sold its mobile division THQ Wireless. It has remained active in other emerging markets, launching the Jimmy Buffet-licensed Facebook game Margaritaville, as well as offering downloadable titles like Nexuiz and Stacking.
Rubin said his long-term plan for THQ is to focus on fewer titles and make them better, but stressed he was not looking to go head-to-head with the biggest of the big.
"In general, how do you succeed with games that aren't Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, and Assassin's Creed," Rubin asked. "The way the industry has been set up with all titles selling for roughly the same price at retail next to each other is that there's been a race to make the biggest, baddest-ass game. If you walk into a store as a gamer and see a massive $120 million dollar game next to a $30 million dollar game, and a $80 million marketing budget backed that $120 million game up, it's likely you’re going to pull that one off the shelf."
However, Rubin did add that THQ could compete with "a Naughty Dog-sized game" that is a step below the scope of the games with the biggest budgets. Rubin co-founded the Uncharted developer, but left after it had completed work on the Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter series.