THQ made 'massive mistakes' says Rubin

Former president says company had every chance to survive if it weren't for mistakes like uDraw and "haphazard and inefficient approach to deal-making."

THQ's drawn out and public demise is not attributable to industry-wide changes, but rather "massive mistakes" made by the company. That's according to former president Jason Rubin, who told MCV in a new feature that though THQ--like all publishers--faced intensified pressure, the company could have survived if certain mistakes were not made.

“I think it is incorrect to attribute THQ's predicament with overall changes in the industry,” Rubin said. “To be sure, all triple-A publishers have been under pressure, but THQ had every chance to survive had it not made massive mistakes."

These mistakes, Rubin said, occurred well before he was brought on board to lead the company in May 2012 and included "incredible losses" associated with uDraw and wasted capital on the canceled Warhammer MMO.

Rubin added that THQ's exit from the children's game business came too late and that Homefront--as well as other "inferior" titles--could have been better. He also attributed THQ's failure to a "generally haphazard and inefficient approach to deal-making [which] left the company with too much negative hanging on its books."

THQ was broken apart and sold to five different companies last week during a bankruptcy auction. For a full breakdown of the proceedings, check out GameSpot's coverage of the event.

Written By

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.

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Discussion

138 comments
WillyChong
WillyChong

Company of Heroes, Dawn of War and the upcoming Company of Heroes 2 is the essence of the once great THQ gaming, very sad it had come to this....... I hope Epic still able to make great games and continue the spirit!

Elann2008
Elann2008

Jason Rubin should have been CEO.  Rubin was probably the only one that knew what he was doing.  Too bad he joined the THQ family a little too late.

PresidentDman
PresidentDman

Remember those home front adverts.....those prime time adverts...

OJ_the_LION
OJ_the_LION

In any other case I'd call this the guy in charge when it ended trying to shift blame when it was really his fault. But in this case, he's 100% right. THQ was making a lot of positive changes when he took over, but it was already too late.

Vambran
Vambran

THQ CEO , what was he thinking? The MMO market is over saturated. There is just no more room left atm. If 5 major MMO's come out a year , 4 will fail and 1 will survive by killing off an older MMO.

As for children's game market....spending millions on dollars on a last gen gimmick add-on that would become outdated in a few years even if the kids don't somehow out grow it... 

look if your kid is too young to play mario or zelda type games.... just give them a ball on a stick , they won't know the difference.

oisbush
oisbush

the wwe series was doing fine until wwe all-stars which was utter bs, then reshaping the annual games, that is what really brought them down

shantd
shantd

What does he mean by 'haphazard approach to deal making" exactly?

epross
epross

Rubin added that THQ's exit from the children's game business came too late. 


Well I bought some THQ games for my kids, they were so bad, I avoided anything with the THQ brand - so not too late, it was releasing garbage in the first place that did them in. Good riddance. I hope the programmers are all working for better companies now that actually know how to manage and run things.

blackace
blackace

Whoever greenlight the UDraw probably left the company long before it failed. Who the hell thought that UDraw would be good on the XBox 360 and PS3? lol!! Bunch of idiots. I wouldn't even have released that on the Wii. Didn't Nintendo release something like that several years back for the Wii and it failed? The cancellation of Warhammer MMO probably wasn't a good idea either. 

I like that Jason Rubin just speaks his mind and tells it like it is. I remember interviewing him and Andy Gavin when they were making Way of the Warrior for the 3DO. Great guys who are very intelligent and know the gaming business. Hope he finds another executive job after THQ.

Apastron
Apastron

Companies that go bust are always smart after the event.  The problem is they were probably well aware at the time but just carried on running in the wrong direction, covering their ears as they yelled, 'La LA La La'.

brxricano
brxricano

Lol they tried to go up against Leapfrog?? smh.

TheCyborgNinja
TheCyborgNinja

Children's games have to be made on a budget of $50 (which is why they suck) or have a really popular license attached. As for MMOs, they have to be called "World of Warcraft." THQ didn't do either of those when they tried to enter said arenas.

luis4800
luis4800

U know who else made a massive mistake, George Lucas that's who.

ewjiml
ewjiml

It is sad....but that's business.  I just hope Relic gets a good publisher so I can enjoy future sequels for Company of Heroes and DOW.   The only gaming developer who can do an RTS the right way. 

Tsuchikage
Tsuchikage

Well, obviously THQ made some "massive mistakes;" it is out of business, after all.  They did a lot of things right, too, though; it's not really their fault Darksiders II and uDraw failed.  Those looked like they were going to do well.

flipin_jackass
flipin_jackass

If you make a lot of vague (obvious) references as to why the business failed, you ought to get a few of them right...

'massive mistakes' 

'inferior titles could have been better'

'inefficient approach to deal-making [which] left the company with too much negative hanging on its books'

I'm going with 'no shit Sherlock' on this one.


styymy
styymy

THQ should have let Relic do Homeworld 3.

Gen007
Gen007

THQ may not have been perfect but they would have did well enough to survive if it werent for that damn uDraw. A fatal example of the meToo syndrome that runs so rampant in the industry.

nephili232
nephili232

uDraw wasn't a mistake. I got 3 platinums in a day off of that beautiful device.

How can the uDraw be a mistake when it was essentially an early version of the WiiU? Wouldn't that make the WiiU a mistake?

Rubin tried his best. He seems like a smart guy, he said all the right things in interviews. If he had a little bit more time maybe he could have saved things. Even through the bankruptcy he's been a gentleman about it all.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@Vambran I think what Mr. Rubin is saying is that THQ shouldn't have worked on an MMO in the first fucking place.  they threw mad money at the Warhammer thing before finally tossing it.  It's the old saying, you gotta know when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em.

AzelKosMos
AzelKosMos

@Adapttttttt You hope another game company dies and people lose their jobs because? You don't like some of their games or something? Don't buy them.

This is the dumbest post I've read here for a while.

Enragedhydra
Enragedhydra

@oisbush there is no such thing as a fine WWE game, just play real games such as Dead Space, Halo, COD, SC 2, Guild Wars 2, Cyrsis, and on and on and on.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@epross You gotta understand that in the SNES-to-PS1 era, it was pretty safe to make kids licensed games.  Yeah, they sucked, but there were enough ignorant grandmas out there that bought the shit that it didn't matter.  Kinda like movie tie-in games.  Nowadays, kids are much more savvy, and toddlers are easily entertained with an iPhone and Angry Birds.  THQ stuck to the licensed junk long after everyone realized it had died off, and probably paid a good penny for those licenses to boot.

YukoAsho
YukoAsho

@Apastron Well, THQ was fucked before Rubin came in.  He was pretty much only able to make sure people landed somewhat softly at other places.

Cyber_Skaarj
Cyber_Skaarj

@ewjiml 

Gas Powered Games (Supreme Commander)

Creative Assembly (Total War)

Ironclad Games (Sins of a Solar Empire)

So, care to rethink your statement?

brxricano
brxricano

@flipin_jackass He sure was comfy approving all the mistakes under salary huh....my inexperience would wipe them out in a day, true, but im not a CEO now am i.....he IS, AAAAND had a YEAR on it. Plz wipe the brown from your chin, Rubin. Watching someone talk shit is like watching a baby eat mashed peas.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@nephili232 You're falsely equating things that are mutually exclusive, and then presuming that the fun you had with a failed device/game is proof of success. 

interrasteral7
interrasteral7

@nephili232 

It is the interesting that Nintendo might have got the Wii U gamepad idea from the uDraw tablet or it could have been from the IPad.

RTHKI
RTHKI

@nephili232 It can be a mistake because of how THQ handled its release on xbox and ps3. $100 million lost is a little more than a mistake for a smaller company like THQ 

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

@AzelKosMos @Adapttttttt he hates capcom because it treats it customers like wallets instead of gamers 

that includes ON disk DLC ridiculess DLC prices 

and lackluster games 

about people losing their jobs... well true we won't want that to happen to nobody. 

But lets say you're working for a greedy corperation, it's their choice to work there, so they are partily taking part of their bullshit dime and nickel methods of making money 

grognard
grognard

@Cyber_Skaarj @ewjiml Well, you won't be seeing any more games from Gas Powered Games since they've essentially dissolved, but your general point is still valid.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@brxricano @flipin_jackass 

Let's see here, he actually only had 7 months on the job, 100s of employees had already been laid off, the stock had lost over 99% of its value and was in danger of being delisted on the stock exchange. Add to that the massive losses taken by the company with expanding the uDraw to multiplatform and the failed/cancelled Warhammer MMO which all happened prior to his being hired. There was really little that any one could do in this situation in this short of time, especially not some no name like yourself with absolutely no experience in gaming or an executive position. You should apply your last comment to yourself as it is fitting. 

nephili232
nephili232

@spoonybard-hahs @RTHKI  Holy smokes you knuckledraggers, it was a joke!! Of course the uDraw was a mistake. I bought one for 20 bucks and whored 3 platinums off the terrible games. I know sarcasm doesn't translate well over the internet... but wow... just wow.

thequickshooter
thequickshooter

@shakensparco @thequickshooter @AzelKosMos @Adapttttttt 

if they gonna ruin game franchises it's outta be DAMN important, not just me, but other peoples as well

shakensparco
shakensparco

@thequickshooter @AzelKosMos @Adapttttttt Are you being serious right now? They deserve to shut down because they have implemented some nickel and dime systems you don't agree with?

If you don't like what they are doing then DON'T BUY THE GAME! Obviously some people like what they are doing and enjoy their products Capcom wouldn't be in business otherwise.

Nobody is forcing you to buy DLC, nobody is forcing you to buy the game, and all businesses are designed to make money. Nearly EVERY corporation is greedy. That's what drives innovation and competition, the money.



spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@luis4800 Sorry I didn't see this when you posted it, but GS didn't notify me there was a reply.

Yes, he already had billions of dollars. The sale earned him billions more. My claiming that he is now richer than god is what most people would recognize as hyperbole.

He did sell it to his competitor. Disney was a rival studio and one of the many that have tried and failed to capture the same lightening that Lucas.

Lucas had lost the respect of his fans and who he sold the company to wouldn't have earned him any back.

And we haven't had bull shit movies and cartoons before? Star Wars Christmas Special? The prequel trilogy? Editing a thirty year old film again and again to make it look beyond stupid? The Clone Wars cartoon?


RiviNOX
RiviNOX

@H0rizon @Darth_Ultima @luis4800 @spoonybard-hahs

Disney owns Marvel Entertainment, which has turned out pretty good IMO. George Lucas was a pioneer, but you cant keep pioneering thinking it's a one man show. Back then he was part of a team. The last three movies it was really just him ordering others around...  No real group creativity coming to life like the originals. 

H0rizon
H0rizon

@Darth_Ultima @luis4800 @spoonybard-hahs As a Star Wars fan, George Lucas had a good idea, but the fans ultimately gave life to its universe. George Lucas' ideas just weren't welcomed apparently. I never did like them that much and enjoyed what the fans created. More appealing to me and that's just personal preference.

rision82
rision82

@luis4800 

I believe on George's part, selling starwars was more of a relief than money maker deal.  He got so much crap for making the prequels, the DVD AND  Blu-Ray Versions of the OT with his own personal changes, and the Clone Wars cartoons that continually angers fan boy's for retconning established EU (a universe created BY the fans, pretty much).  Theres only so much "Don't let GL touch it" comments made about every single "next project' (SWTOR was the best example) that he probably just got fed up with all the thanklessness

luis4800
luis4800

@spoonybard-hahs $4 billion dollars doesn't make him richer than god he already had billion's before selling out to Disney. Now were going to have BS Sci-Fi movies and cartoons in the future. Why Disney he should have sold it to his competition for a little bit less or equal to 4 billion dollars and have gotten his fans and ex fans respect.

It's all about business right. WRONG.

spoonybard-hahs
spoonybard-hahs

@luis4800 @spoonybard-hahs Lucas sold his company for $4 billion dollars because fans essentially told him to. I'm sorry, but adding even more money to his mattress to the point he is richer than God isn't a mistake.

I find it ridiculous that there would be any fans against  the sale considering all the crap the fan base have been giving Lucas. "Anyone could do better than Lucas," is said by fans so much that someone would mistake it for a quote from one of his films.


luis4800
luis4800

@spoonybard-hahs I don't know how the "e" got there, Come on cuh.

grognard
grognard

@Cyber_Skaarj @grognard @ewjiml That would be awesome, but I'm worried that having to let almost everyone go doomed their Kickstarter prospects as it's not exactly a vote of confidence for their ability to deliver.  As each day passes, more and more of those let go will move on to other jobs.

Cyber_Skaarj
Cyber_Skaarj

@grognard @Cyber_Skaarj @ewjiml 

They're not gone yet! If they get the kickstarter success they need on Wildman, we should still see great games from them in the future. Cross your fingers that the kickstarter succeeds :D

nephili232
nephili232

@dlCHIEF58 @nephili232 @spoonybard-hahs @RTHKI wow I didn't know the sarcasm police took their job so seriously... or it could just be the abundance of dumb unemployed Americans with nothing better to do. In any event, trophy whores play bad games for easy trophies. They don't like bad games because of trophies. And how does the average intelligence of the internet user have any relevance. Only an idiot would like the uDraw? Try again slick.

dlCHIEF58
dlCHIEF58

@nephili232 @spoonybard-hahs @RTHKI 

With all the achievement and trophy whores out there (not to mention the average intelligence of many internet users) your comment can easily be taken as serious and not sarcastic. So no, your attempt at sarcasm is an epic fail (no sarcasm intended). 

nephili232
nephili232

@spoonybard-hahs @nephili232 @RTHKI I think the comment, "the uDraw wasn't a mistake because I was able to earn 3 easy platinums off it" is sufficiently sarcastic to anyone with half a brain. Let's try another; Cabela's Adventure Camp was outstanding because I earned the platinum in 2 hours. Is that sarcastic enough... or does the fact that there might be people out there that like Cabela show that I don't know what I'm doing in the sarcasm department. Give your head a shake.