THQ exiting kids' game business

Publisher abandoning its publishing efforts for children's titles, instead focusing on "key franchises"; Saints Row: The Third ships 3.8 million, new Company of Heroes confirmed.

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Following rumors that THQ had lost a publishing alignment with Disney and that the company was cancelling its entire 2014 lineup, the publisher this morning announced a new business strategy for 2012 and beyond.

THQ is saying goodbye to Spongebob and hello to Saints Row.

According to a statement issued by the company, THQ is exiting the kids' licensed entertainment business. Instead, the company's newest strategy calls for it to focus on "core" franchises and initiatives.

THQ has been a player in the children's game sector for some time, publishing a range of licensed titles, including numerous Spongebob and movie tie-in games. While THQ is dropping the children's game business, it will continue to sell a selection of its previously released kids' games.

"THQ will be a more streamlined organization focused only on our strongest franchises," said THQ CEO and president Brian Farrell.

As for its digital initiatives, THQ said it wants to spark revenues in this sector by "extending and supporting" console launches, as well as by creating new properties for unspecified emerging platforms.

Moving forward, THQ said it will focus instead on its "key franchises," which were specifically cited as UFC, Darksiders, Company of Heroes, inSane, Saints Row, Warhammer 40,000, and the in-development game from former Ubisoft developer Patrice Desilets.

The last Company of Heroes that was released in the West came in 2009. A microtransaction-driven spinoff called Company of Heroes Online made it to the open beta phase of development, but THQ pulled the plug on that project earlier this year.

On top of its internal studios and their games, THQ said it remains committed to working with external development teams on existing and new franchises. What's more, the publisher said it is seeking to "establish new franchises on the next generation of game devices."

THQ said it will discuss its new business plan in more detail during its third quarter 2012 financial call, scheduled for February 2.

In addition to outlining its new business model, THQ provided new shipment figures for Volition's open-world game Saints Row: The Third. The publisher announced that the game has shipped 3.8 million units since its November launch for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Looking ahead, THQ is forecasting a lifetime shipment tally for the game of 5 to 6 million units.

For more on Saints Row: The Third, check out GameSpot's review.

Discussion

118 comments
Pizzaman103
Pizzaman103

I was playing the first Zelda and Mario when I was 4. You don't need to make a game that is specifically geared toward kids to have kids play it. On the flipside, you don't need to make games with d!ldos as weapons to be successful. There's a happy medium in there. Sure, technology and gameplay has evolved quite a bit (not to mention the amount of options for what and how to play), but you can do it, THQ. Find your happy place.

Evenios
Evenios

already enough cheesy kids games out there anyways.

nima_metal90
nima_metal90

Kids nowadays playing only games like saints row or gta so they r actually happy wth this news!

theJBlounge
theJBlounge

Should we start wagering on who ends up buying the Red Faction franchise in the bankruptcy auction? I'm giving EA a decent shot of it. I think Activision gets Saints Row.

devastion913
devastion913

@Jebril COH is a very strong franchise and Darksiders has it's share of fans too.

Jebril
Jebril

Other than Saint's Row and Red Faction I never thought THQ produced strong IPs, and with them giving up on Red Faction they really have only one left. They need something new that's fer sure if they wanna survive. Something like Capcom's Dead Rising or Activision's Prototype.

ssdd_again
ssdd_again

lol@illegalChronic - Planes werent in GTA IV because of fears that idiots would re-enact 9/11. Sick of people moanin' about the lack of planes in LC when they clearly dont know the (good) reason behind it. I could go on but its off topic. Basically - Grand Theft Auto - The Don Saints Row - Petty Street Thug Both are fun, only one has class. Shame THQ are pullin' the plug on the kids games, one less forum for the kids to cut their gaming teeth.

mitchmacca92
mitchmacca92

A new Company of Heroes would be amazing.

gamingfrendly
gamingfrendly

yay at last a new company of heroes is on the way

GamerLegend10
GamerLegend10

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

wexorian
wexorian

now i see new dlc For saints row 3 Disney Costumes !!! horayy junk.

rprevidi5
rprevidi5

COH 2!!! Now that's what I'm talking about. Woot!

naomha1
naomha1

I've been a loyal follower of THQ ever since Summoner in 2000. Granted, I've never purchased or played one of their children's games, but what matters most is that they are still a viable company and a great publisher.I've retained every single THQ purchase I've ever made because their games are quality and fun. After all, is that not what we buy them for? Oh, and Warhammer 40k kicks A$$!

TheoAlmighty
TheoAlmighty

kids should be in school focusing anyways ;)

illagueril1
illagueril1

@illegalchronic I am confused why R* took out car/character customization in GTA IV, and I liked the rocketpack and having my own airstrip with fighter jet. But to your point, SR is not better than GTA, the newest SR might be better than a 4 year old GTA IV, but shouldn't it be?? I mean the new SR is like GTA SA except bigger and prettier. My point is R* been done the over the top crazyness of the OPEN WORLD GENRE that they created. So if R* wanted to take GTA in a kinda risky more mature nature it's their right. But I loved the realistic handling of the cars, cuz when you got real good, and pulled off some crazy ass stunts and get outta an impossible situation with great driving it's very rewarding. And my main point, I think R* will bring back car and hopefully character customizing, but beyond that does anybody remember that one game... g....um....oh yeah Red Dead!! What I mean is GTAs MP will probably all around with options and challenges and so many different modes, will be the greatest MP ever!! They will take what they learned from RDRs MP and make it even better, I can already see myself driving around the city with a friend clearing out "hideouts" and doing challeges and hunting down "public enemy's " and tons and tons of other stuff they will have for you to do. Remember GTA IV came out so long ago that in MP you could only level up 10 times!!! There's ppl on my PSN friends list that still play GTA IV MP!!! GTA V GOTY for sure when it drops

FlashCharge
FlashCharge

The revival of Company of Heroes is really awesome. A great game with hopes that THQ produces a great game that keeps the favor of the past games. There will always be developers that will produce kid games and the countless apps just for kids.

42316
42316

That's pretty cool, now they can focus their resources on the games we'd all like to play Warhammer, CoH etc........ THQ seem to really want to push towards being one of the top top publishers in the world, by leaving the non-core market, they might not make as much $$$$ as activision and ea because we all know that shovelware (i.e. sticking ben10 on a game) sells big!.....Good luck to you THQ, I'm following next to all of your big games and hope that they do really well :)

charlieboomboom
charlieboomboom

yay Company of Heroes good game, keep making games like that....

Archontic
Archontic

And nothing of value was lost.

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Hmm.. I'm in two minds about this. It's good news for us older gamers but it won't do any favours for newcomers - aka 6 year old kids. If all companies followed this route then the Gaming Industry would only shrink in the long run. Kids need games to play whilst they're young in order to follow gaming through to maturity. I suppose if THQ are tight for money though then yeah, by all means focus on your most successful titles. That makes sense.

ElectronicMagic
ElectronicMagic

This is good news to me. The games they are going to focus their attention on are the games I'm looking forward to. Though I was surprised to not see Devil's Third there. Anyway, Homefront, Frontlines, Saints Row, etc were always there better franchises and it's good that they are going to be sticking to what they do right. It just sticks that they closed down Kaos Studio and Violition aren't making Red Faction games anymore.

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

yeah homefront (and frontlines) are TOTALY underated games. THQ made BLOB 2, which is a kids game. It is really fun and addictive game. I picked it up for 10 bucks and it was a blast to play.

inaka_rob
inaka_rob

@drgribb "Good riddance. THQ is like the Uwe Boll of making licensed games..." how can you compare saints row and red faction to House of the Dead the Movie? THQ is just about the LAST AAA game maker that has ANY integrety left. Their games are not as polished as say EA, but they are more orignal, and they put FUN and GAMERS before profits and cash! UWE BOLL has some of the lowest rated movies of all human cinama history, THQ has some of the most origanl and most fun games EVER made.

xeis-net
xeis-net

No mention of homefront in their key franchises I see.

Davhut
Davhut

I feel that with hardcore gaming generating multi-million pound returns, with adult themes gaining much more credence and with the industry becoming the predominant entertainment media, that childrens gaming should be placed within specialist catelogues so that parents can make informed choices and not be beguiled into thinking that because their child is "playing" on a console that all console games are for children. Too many children migrate onto adult themed games because of peer pressure and because a lot of non gaming parents have no clue what content is in games and allow there offspring to play totally unsuitable games. The childrens market is now niche and should be marketed as such.

AcidSoldner
AcidSoldner

Aw f*** yeah! Been waiting for a new Company of Heroes for some time. Glad to see it finally announced.

drgribb
drgribb

Good riddance. THQ is like the Uwe Boll of making licensed games...

Jestersmiles
Jestersmiles

More Saint row pls , loved the third. :)

HailHellfire
HailHellfire

excellent news!!! i was scared there for a second... i thought they might scrap Insane... im glad to hear that it will definitely be coming out...

vengefulwilberg
vengefulwilberg

I approve of this. The Wii is the only system that really sold well when it came the nostalgia and games made for all ages. Games for all ages should always be handled by Nintendo cause they know what to do with them.

Gv0zD
Gv0zD

New CoH and Warhammer 40,000? Now that's good news!

Gv0zD
Gv0zD

New CoH and Warhammer 40,000? Now that's good news!

randomrings
randomrings

Oh jee wizz, I sure hope nobody out there was hoping for a Tak and the Power of Juju reboot!

Priapus101
Priapus101

Company of Heroes.. Boo yah! I only pray that it does not follow DoW2 footsteps. There is hardly anything that resembles a "war" when only playing with a handful of units.

zipperflipper
zipperflipper

@oflow ya dowII made me mad but still a good game

oflow
oflow

As long as they dont screw up the new CoH and make it small scale like DoWII I'll be happy. pre ToV CoH is in my top 5 games of all-time. maybe they'll make a Pacific-based CoH? Would be very cool.

zipperflipper
zipperflipper

Am I the only one that saw that they are going to make a new company of heroes? Not saying that I don't love Saints row or Darksiders but come on its coh who doesn't love coh :D

Nodashi
Nodashi

You know what I want, THQ? HOMEWORLD 3 C'mon, you bought Relic, let them do their magic!

SLjimbolian
SLjimbolian

Hmmm, with Vince McMahon making WWE more kid-friendly, does that mean WWE games are out of the picture at THQ? Yeah, probably not, but I do find it interesting the company didn't cite WWE as one of its key franchises. For one thing, I'd like to see WWE move its product to somewhere else because Yukes been making the same damn game for the past 10 years.

XboxGuy1537
XboxGuy1537

Thank goodness. The kids games they made were absolute CRAP. As long as they keep making Warhammer and Saints I'm good with that.

Hornet85
Hornet85

@Ketorulz That may be difficult depending on what kind of games you're making. Casual games, yes, games like Sims 3 appeals to both kids and adults. But certain genre like FPS, RPG and RTS are difficult to do so as the quality of such games do depends on the level of gameplay complexity, especially for RTS and RPG where a good game will always be too complex for kids to comprehend. Most of Wii's game are casual which is why they work very well across the age spectrum. But not everyone wants to make casual games.

Ketorulz
Ketorulz

Who says a game has to be for kids OR adults? Why don't you make a game for EVERYONE to enjoy? That's where the REAL money is at? You are only catering to a minority. Why not actually make more money by catering to both with single franchises? Isn't this why Nintendo is very successful? Most of their franchises are for everyone. What's THQ's "kiddy" games? Ummm....THEY ARE ALL TV SHOW LICENSES! Big deal! We can live without them! Someone else can take them easily!

bramterris
bramterris

Mainly interested in the Patrice Desilets project, otherwise THQ is meh for games.

JoSilver
JoSilver

Man these guys must hate money then. stop making half of the games you were making... That has to equal more money!

ProMethUse
ProMethUse

good news :D... they can finally concentrate on making games geared for more serious gamers

kennythomas26
kennythomas26

I guess this is going to be good for them, but we will have to wait and see.