WWE extends THQ-Jakks game license renewal deadline

Sports-entertainment company offers publisher until Dec. 31 to settle dispute with toy firm over joint wrestling-game venture; analysts believe THQ will strike indpendent deal.

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Today, the World Wrestling Entertainment extended a deadline for THQ and Jakks Pacific to agree on renewing their joint venture's licensing deal for the wrestling company. According to THQ, the two companies now have until the current license expires on December 31, 2009, to renew their codevelopment deal through December 31, 2014.

Jakks appears to be in a tight spot.

The renewal notice comes as THQ and Jakks are squared off in the legal arena over the future of their WWE joint venture, which the two entered into in 1999. In July, Jakks spoke for both itself and THQ in exercising its right to renew the contract to make WWE games for five more years. However, THQ quickly responded to Jakks' announcement, filing a suit against the toy company claiming that it had not yet decided whether it would renew the WWE license.

THQ's suit further contended that Jakks could not unilaterally renew the WWE license as part of the terms of its joint venture with the toy maker. Also, THQ claimed that it is not obligated to consent to a renewal of the WWE license and that a noncompete clause preventing THQ from publishing a wrestling game for a year after the WWE agreement's termination cannot be enforced under California law.

In a note to investors today, Wedbush Morgan Securities' Michael Pachter said that the announcement gives THQ time to wrap up the aforementioned litigation with Jakks. In doing so, Pachter believes THQ intends to end its joint venture with the toy maker and enter into a new licensing arrangement with the WWE independently.

"The relevant issue involves whether THQ can unilaterally terminate the JV [joint venture], so that it can enter into a license deal with WWE on its own," Pachter said. "Jakks said in a counterclaim that a) THQ cannot terminate the JV unilaterally and b) even if the JV terminates, THQ is contractually bound to not produce WWE games for 12 months after the termination. THQ counterclaimed that a) it can terminate unilaterally and b) it doesn't have to honor the 12-month non-compete upon termination."

Pachter went on to note that the "likely outcome" of the proceedings is that THQ and Jakks' joint venture will be terminated, with Jakks cut off by 2010. Notably, in July, THQ emerged victorious in an arbitration proceeding in which the publisher sought to lower the return rate on WWE games it paid to Jakks from 10 percent to 6 percent, a $23 million savings. Pachter believes it is likely that THQ will soon buy out Jakks' interest in the game license.

"It's pretty clear to us that WWE doesn't want to deal with Jakks any more, and neither does THQ," he said. "The alternatives are to keep the deal as is for another five years (THQ and WWE unhappy, Jakks happy), terminate the JV and have no WWE games for a year (THQ and WWE unhappy, Jakks neutral), or pay Jakks something to go away (THQ and WWE slightly upset, but happy about being able to deal with one another without Jakks, and Jakks happy). We think that the third alternative is most likely, and expect THQ to make it happen in the next two months."

THQ had not responded to requests for additional comment on its ongoing dispute with Jakks as of press time.

Discussion

33 comments
Pwnd56
Pwnd56

NOO!!! BRING BACK THE GOOD OLD STUFF, THROW OUT JAKKS!!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!

nsibbs
nsibbs

I think THQ will do a better job now because the stress lv will be down and they will have something to prove. I would really like to see a remake also of no mercy/wcw vs nwo style of play in HD and better animation. Custom Controlls would be awesome also. But bring back to fun of WWE games ... please... Cong's again THQ of winning ur freedom...

tony382
tony382

@infinitymugen I agree, I haven't been into wrestling for years, since the buyouts, and always hated these wrestling games made by Jakks. I miss the No Mercy, Wrestlemaina 200 games. If they ever make a sequel I would jump back into wrestling games.

InfinityMugen
InfinityMugen

Syn Sophia the devs formerly known as AKI need to make a sequel to WWF No Mercy. I will never support another wrestling game until I see another wrestling game of that caliber.

GrandJury
GrandJury

I think a better idea would be to get both out of the picture. Over the past few years only little improvements have been made to the series when it needs a complete overhaul.

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

Well, hopefully no game gets delayed because of this.

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

Kyuubi_Vegetto You know you could just create the storylines with the storyline designer right? I've never even checked the create a storyline mode out. It's a good concept on paper. It's like having no books at your place but you feel like reading a book you've never read before, so you write your own. Now that you're done writing your own book... oh wait, you know everything that happens already when you sit down with the book in hand... what the heck was the point of creating the storyline in the first place? As an online thing it's fine, downloading other people's storylines is great because you don't know what happens in them. I don't have Live so the feature is completely meaningless.

justhat1
justhat1

in a perfect world thq/jakks would both go away because the last few years all they have done is promise us this and that and then give us trash the genre to them is a cash cow every year its the same mediocre gameplay and staleness we need new blood in the form of developers that actually listen to the fans and make a game that pushes the hardware,and bring something new to the table but we dont live in a perfect world so all we can do is wish upon a star and stop rewarding crapola by saying enough is enough also yukes is also guilty in this mess they dont get a free pass !!

Kyuubi_Vegetto
Kyuubi_Vegetto

Chico_Azteca not even legends.. anymore... Austin,Rock,Dusty Rhodes,Ted Dibiase SR,Bob Orton small selection all things considered but given what Yuke's did last year with DLC there might be more Chico_Azteca Day of reckoning and Smackdown series were the best ones Day of Reckoning was by and large meh, second game was a slight improvement but still meh whereas the earlier Smackdown games didn't really become good until Shut Your Mouth.

Kyuubi_Vegetto
Kyuubi_Vegetto

downloadthefile you can't really play as the bad guys. This is weird since I beat Road To Wrestlemania with Edge and last I checked Edge is a bad guy.

Kyuubi_Vegetto
Kyuubi_Vegetto

jinzo9988 The Career mode is incredibly disappointing... it couldn't possibly be any more stock. What about generic storylines to complement the career mode You know you could just create the storylines with the storyline designer right?

DFen
DFen

well as long as midway is not part with this in any way Im good lol

mariokart64fan
mariokart64fan

ya , im missing 2 unlockable characters and a back stage ive been through each rtwm at least twice already , , , 2010 is awsome and all but , wheres the freedom that was actually promised. all the stuff 2010 has besides the create a story and threads and so forth are the exact same , we cant fight in the crowd we cant just pick up anything we want , were still limited to what is under the ring a 2x4 -replaced the barbed wire version with a streight 2x4 a chair on 2 sides and a sledge , boring oh and the announce tables and ring bell and steel steps, the road t wm mode was to easy to quick and ,, i pick john cena they still make me use tripple h why the heck have that option if were still u sing one and the other?

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

2010 was decent but had it's fair share of problems. The CAW mode is atrocious which is kind of ironic since 2010 is all about customization. The Career mode is incredibly disappointing... it couldn't possibly be any more stock. What about generic storylines to complement the career mode as well as offering the depth that 2008 did by choosing to appear for photoshoots and stuff like that? The announcers occasionally make errors which is minor but it's kind of funny when I get a 3 count and JR says "3! ...no! He kicked out!" or when they call out the wrong moves. What about when there's an interference during the match and your guy can't target the interferer? That's just bad.

Stoneys_Rock
Stoneys_Rock

I assume this will end with someone kissing Vince's ass irl.

jl0pez
jl0pez

I hope they don't renew, AKI deserves to make them again. No more THQ

Vadamee
Vadamee

Get new developers. New graphics engine that takes advantage of current hardware, not some graphics engine that still has roots to the PS2.

Mj-Healy
Mj-Healy

There will probably be some more sueing by 2014.

HaloAnimator
HaloAnimator

I think, personally, that they should just give the license to someone else...and syn Sophia, Inc. (formerly known as Aki) should really take the reins once again... I still have and play No Mercy to this day. SVR 2010 is getting close to emulating their formula but it is not enough. I can also picture EA doing this and having the graphics engine from FNR4

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

You know I found it funny that THQ said that they didn't decide whether or not to go forward with the license when Jakks signed the agreement. Seriously? Doesn't wrestling games attribute to a huge chunk of THQ's revenue? Were they really going to even entetain the thought of passing on it?

joevit
joevit

Some one needs to take over WWE games. the Dev's that have been working on them now suck.

mrzero1982pt2
mrzero1982pt2

hey at least we wont have to see the wwe retirement home(aka TNA) games for awhile

BigBacon87
BigBacon87

Yep and after that Jakks can go ahead and stop making videogames.

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

last one i bought was 2007 and loved it now well...... not even legends.. anymore... Day of reckoning and Smackdown series were the best ones

downloadthefile
downloadthefile

WWE games show a complete lack of effort when compared to any other genre of video game. It's a mediocre wrestling sim that doesn't even allow you to play how you want. You can't be the guy on the side who gets spotlight once in a while, you can't really play as the bad guys, you can't be a GM anymore even though that was a mode that should have been redone, and the controls are not nearly as enjoyable as they were back in the old days. These games suck.

IrishSJ23
IrishSJ23

Please get AKI back making these games!!!

dukerav
dukerav

The last and most recent WWE (WWF) game I played was No Mercy, such great times with that game. I would really like to play around with the story creator though in Raw vs Smackdown 2010, doubtful I ever will.

joce667
joce667

I say cage match whoever wins get the $$$$ !

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

let them (thq) setttle with jakks, then go renew the deal for themselves