WWE license sparks new Jakks/THQ suit

Publisher petitions court following toy maker's one-sided decision to renew rights to make wrestling games for five more years.

For years, THQ, Jakks Pacific, and World Wrestling Entertainment have faced off in a Triple Threat match over the WWE vs. SmackDown franchise. WWE has sued the THQ-Jakks joint venture twice seeking to have its licensing agreement terminated, all while the game and toy companies have been locked in their own dispute over royalty rates on WWE-branded games.

In this match, there are no rules.

With the current WWE game licensing deal set to expire on December 31, 2009, Jakks said today that it would be exercising its right to renew the contract to make the games for five more years, through December 31, 2014. As could be expected given the license's turbulent history, the move has sparked a new round of legal posturing. THQ has responded by filing a suit claiming that it had not yet decided whether it would renew the WWE license.

In its filing with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, THQ is seeking declaratory judgment on three issues. First, THQ wants a determination that Jakks cannot unilaterally renew the WWE license as part of the terms of its joint venture with the toy maker. Second, THQ claims it is not obligated to consent to a renewal of the WWE license. And third, the restriction prohibiting THQ from publishing any wrestling-based game without Jakks for at least a year after the termination of the WWE agreement can not be enforced under California law, the publisher claims.

Jakks further noted that it has entered into arbitration proceedings with THQ related to this and other issues concerning the WWE license. THQ had not responded to requests for comment on the suit or Jakks' renewal announcement as of press time.

The WWE license contributes heavily to THQ's bottom line, with about 25 percent of the publisher's revenues for calendar year 2007 being derived from the wrestling franchise. However, the series saw a substantial drop-off in popularity in 2008. As part of THQ's grim fiscal year-end report in May, CFO Paul Pucino noted that WWE franchise sales slipped 24 percent year-over-year. Still, WWE SmackDown vs. RAW 2009 shipped more than 4.5 million units during the period.

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Discussion

123 comments
zidaneq8
zidaneq8

do you think The Undertaker will defeat CM punk ?

craigofadown
craigofadown

THQ are making average games at the moment, If they get to make them for another 5 years, they seriously have to improve the game, because there has been little improvement over the past years.

Kollawona
Kollawona

Good THQ has failed making Smackdown games for the past 5 years now. Finally they get what they asked for. The 360 didn't even get an update for Smackdown vs Raw 2009. Every choice a consequence and it looks like its finally the end. :)

DHH34
DHH34

damn, expect a cancellation or delay on this one :(

MadGamer132
MadGamer132

hey if thq doesn't wan t to renew with jakks thats fine. or a pub had to get the liencse

Hayden10Noah
Hayden10Noah

i just got smackdown vs. raw 09 for the wii, and it's pretty good, but we do need change in wwe games.

NightRain
NightRain

Noooooo!! Jakks... leave WWE ALONE!! We need CHANGE in the wrestling games. It would be about time that the SDvsRaw games changes of style or of gameplay because i'm getting tired of it!! I wish games could be good as they were when AKI made them... Why can't Vince McMahon tell this to Jakks?..... YOU'RE FIIIIIIREEEEDD!!!!!!!

Quill
Quill

What are you talking about extreme 124? Vince must be depressed? Vince is an idiot. He used to be cool in the days of Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Piper. Now he is just a stupid grinch who makes very bad business desicions. I will say about the game though, I wasn't too crazy about 09. I missed the season mode with story lines. And I will also say that the game needs more branching story lines. Career mode dosen't work for me. Other than that the game is still a wonderful franchise. And by the way, at the rate vince is going in his stupid desicion making and sometimes very horrible story lines on the show I will eventually drop watching raw or smackdown and completely convert to TNA! It's now one of the better shows.

Jayzilla69
Jayzilla69

I still find the wrestling games fun as i am a huge wrestling fan but the thing they need to work on is the career mode where is the CAW season!?

YoJim8obaJoe
YoJim8obaJoe

im not surprised sales have dropped,the games have been nearly identical since the ps1 days

Extreme124
Extreme124

The caption "In this match, there are no rules." Is lame as ever! Thank god, THQ drop the license they are offal at wrestling games. And having to remove every wrestler that's released from the game is annoying. Vince must be so depressed that he feels the need to do this. Like how he forced them to make Stephanie super slim. And he destroyed SVR 08 no actually the developers did. I think they should only work on UFC games If they buy TNA I will cry they will destroy it and might try use the 15+ year engine that they use for WWE games. Also Corey is stupid he hypes games like crazy and 90% is all lies. If he took a lie detector test when being interviewed about the game it would go red every 5sec's. He would need to say "This feature would be good" not "we are making this the best wrestling game ever" he is an epic failure.

robayeit
robayeit

dkidfrmdbx I completely agree with u, I even still play here comes the pain. THQ have gone soft with the title, its boring lame and nothing knew. I dont like any games from THQ I dont have anyother THQ game, I tried to play warhammer, BORING. and the comments on vince, all I can say is TNA TNA TNA TNA

iamnessie
iamnessie

This is what happened with the Tony Hawk games. i don't like UFC at all, but they have a really good game. Why can't the WWE have a game like that, since it's from the same company, just not the same developer?

Gamelova08
Gamelova08

WWE games WERE fun? So they aren't fun anymore? Gosh, am I surprised

EmptySki
EmptySki

They need a fresh wrestling game experience. The past 4 or 5 years have been the same thing.

peetowser
peetowser

The reason they are seeing their sales is 1-their game franchise has grown stale and they can't make a wrestling game wrestling fans enjoy. I think back to Acclaim's games on the PS1 when I think about good wrestling games. Those games had as good a create-a-wrestler as any THQ game ever had, with move lists you could tailor make to your wishes. Instead of relying on twitch counters and 12 moves /character, the Acclaim games would let you dominate on your opponent when you felt like it and you could play that game like real "fake" wrestling; your turn on offense, my turn on offense, then end it. Everybody knows wrestling is fake, so why make your wrestling games an exercice in frustration THQ??? When I pick Taker and some bottom-feeder jobber reverses everything I throw at him, I lose patience and enjoyment of something that is supposed to be entertaining. It's a sad realization when the only thing lacking from a ten year old game compared to your game is more polygons and shaders. I play WWF Warzone or Attitude instead and still enjoy it a lot more than any clumsy, slow-paced, badly clipping, slow-loading, NHL/Madden formula-following THQ try at making a game...

rando22
rando22

THQ and Yuke's just needs to give up on WWE and concentrate on UFC

another_drew
another_drew

Wrestling games are the bane of any sports simulator. They are just plain bad. What's the point of releasing one every year. An expanded roster by one person, come on hardly worth another $60.

Bladefist
Bladefist

This has me sad. If they split then WWE would have to go back to AKI, which would be...AWWWWWWWESOME! I'm crossing my fingers.

faceman420
faceman420

Never liked the Smackdown series or any series for that matter as much as the N64 WWF games. No Mercy is still the reigning champ of wrestling games.

69ANT69
69ANT69

I don't know why they would want to renew it to be honest ... The WWE has been dead for years and its games are just as bad.

fps_d0minat0r
fps_d0minat0r

wow, i remember playing smack down vs raw 2006 and this hasnt changed much except the graphics. the player AI still looks dopey. i think they should all be banned from making wrestling games because their all pretty much the same.....why not just have an update or patch which adds new players ect. it would be interesting if a wrestling title came out every 2-3 years.....ive completely lost interest in wrestling games because it doesnt look fun.

Lionheart1810
Lionheart1810

I quit watching wrestling on 2005 as I have no interest on all their antics, especially WWE. They are forever in the Stone Cold era style & antics. Everything are scripted, including TNA

fedor19820
fedor19820

i dont think 2k can make a good wrestling game since they droped the ball on price fighter all they know how to make is nba and also dont trust ea and would only want them making the game if they still have the aki team and no mercy game engine, i dont get why ea didnt get the tna license since they have an office in maitland fl near universal where they tape tna cause midway say they were trying to make wrestling game like no mercy but they droped the ball big time with the garbage they put out the tna game was out for like 2 months and they had to drop the price to 20.00 cause it sucked lol

thetallterror
thetallterror

Something needs to be done to put a spark into the franchise. The games feel same old same old and in this economy less people are going to pay $50 for a game they pretty much already have.

KingDre410
KingDre410

i hope thq loses this lisense, and hands it over to EA, or 2K games

jmanversion1
jmanversion1

im not gonna lie the wrestling games on GC were not bad....but enough is enough, we need something new..something fresh, I think EA should step up and take over...

PlayTogether
PlayTogether

How can the people higher up not just read all these comments and see the BLATANTLY HUGE market for an AKI created wrestling game with the playability of the N64 classics (WWF No Mercy, WCW vs nWo Revenge etc) mixed in with the graphical capabilities of todays consoles? Every other comment seems to be regarding this, so imagine how many copies they would sell if they were to remove the Smackdown vs Raw tagline and reboot it all with AKI in charge!! Everyone is tired of the recycled animations (some of which haven't changed since the FIRST Smackdown), the awful CAW mode and just general shoddyness of all smackdown games since it became smackdown vs raw. AKI!!!!!

fedor19820
fedor19820

does ea still own the no mercy game engine? if so wwe needs to get with ea so they can bring back the best wrestling game engine ever made (wcw nwo revenge, no mercy)

SicklySunStorm
SicklySunStorm

Although the exterior graphics have improved, the animations are just the same on the character models.... still fairly fun to play games, but I can get just as much fun by loading up Smackdown on my PS1... Move on THQ....

superiorNilly
superiorNilly

I haven't played a WWE game for years. Its pathetic how when I watch the gameplay video I can still see the same animations and moves from when I last played. They either need to stop making these games or get a new developer.

jtthegame316
jtthegame316

wwe sucks now i don't watch it now tna is the superior organisation. smackdown vs raw 2009 is ok though better than the 2008 edition which sucked.

duke-nukem11
duke-nukem11

true the n64 games where ace. the sound of head on chair via a ddt always made me smile. and yeah wwe gotta do something to get out of jakks hands. coz there only making the game now for the money. they forgot how to make great wrestling games. bring back aki!

MoonMarvel
MoonMarvel

WWE really needs to get out from under these people, those games have been going downhill...Even killing a great idea like GM mode. Even EA would do a better job! Fire these guys.

razorfett147
razorfett147

I'm gonna echo many ppl's sentiments here.........THQ/AKI's efforts on the N64 represent the last of the truly great wrestling games. And this is well before the current or even last generation of game consoles. Anyone else see something wrong with that picture? Sounds like someone needs to go back to the drawing board...........or just go home. All this legal posturing just to make yet another crappy WWE game. The shame of it all.

pamplinas322
pamplinas322

Nintendo64 wrestling games were the best.

Legend002
Legend002

Tick tock, tick tock... How long will it take to learn that the series went downhill and needs a reboot?

Denji
Denji

@ zaiwen They were great at first. Then, I don't know what happened. I guess ever since the lawsuits started a few years ago, the whole thing went downhill. Even game wise itself. I also think it went sour when they took this "Madden approach" to the franchise and just made it Smackdown vs RAW.

zaiwen
zaiwen

THQ sux!! come on admit it

telvisnostic
telvisnostic

Find out what AKI are up to and talk to them. Wrestlemania 2000 for the N64 was amazing as was the No Mercy one too.

Jedilink109
Jedilink109

Ok so does Jakks make the game then? If so I think THQ should be allowed togive the license to another dev. I think that with a different developer handleing the games they could make something no one had thought of before and possibly end up with a significantly better product in the long run. Either way, if I were Vince McMahon, I'd get sick of everyone bickering and pull my lisence from both of them. Haha. Either way I got 08 and 09 on my PSP and both were loads of fun. I think 09 is better than 08 even despite it having lower sales. Both play similarly to WWF No Mercy on N64 so I love em because of that. I'd like it if they'd let AKI make em again like they did on 64. Those games were THE BEST.

Denji
Denji

@pure_impact Oh, I tried to like TNA. But I hear about it week after week and Russo all over that? I always think "Nah, I've already got enough wrestling crap two days of my week" I don't even watch Superstars or "Vince's ECW". The best TNA stuff I've ever seen was the old stuff on DVDs. Back when it was pretty much "The X Division". Those were some of the greatest matches I've ever seen in my life. But I agree though. I would love to see AKI make a return. I can only imagine those timeless classics back then, backed with next gen power and Blu Ray disk storage. Those were the good old days and one of the only reasons to really have an N64 in the first place. Though, I don't think THQ getting TNA would make it better. If they're not "changing" and screwing everything up, wouldn't they just do that to a TNA game as well? I think THQ's (or Yukes, Jakks, whatever) failed attempts at being "innovative" just by screwing with the AI and control scheme and making a "mini game" out of every clothesline is a real problem. No matter what franchise you stick it with.

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Til THQ hooks back up with AKI, I don't give a damn about the WWE games or any wrestling games for that matter. No AKI, no dice.

pure_impact
pure_impact

@Denji:Yo Denji, I heard Vince state that line you spoke of about him training fans to chant ECW years ago. He is such an idiot...people have chanted ECW on WWE telecast for years due to a few things, one the location of the live event and two if the guy or guys wrestling were ECW original alumni. On the game topic: WWF No Mery and WCW vs nWo Revenge are still the best 2 wrestling games ever made in the states or at least the best ones i've ever played. Maybe and hopefully THQ drops the WWE, gets TNA and hires AKI to totally blow all wrestling titles out of the water! Man that'd be somethin, huh? :-)

dalejrgamer
dalejrgamer

In the words of Vincent Kennedy McMahon: IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MMMOOOOONNNNNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY.

firehawk998
firehawk998

Heres the thing I dont get. How can a game like WWF NO MERCY on the N64 have a overall better gameplay,better hit dectition than other WWE games. Shouldnt the power of consoles these days enable the developers to create something better than a yearly release. I hope someone new gets the license because this series really needs a makeover.

Denji
Denji

@ LoserMike Vince has been in the "looney bin" state of mind for quite some time. He's now one of those crazy isolated rich guys that are completely withdrawn from the outside world. It's so bad that you can tell by things done on TV alone that "yeah, Vince had a personal hand in this one". Especially with the really stupid stuff lately that Vince and only Vince, finds funny. So he goes all "idiot" and wonders why the ratings drop. Vince does this kind of crap all the time because he thinks he's "god". Pure and simple. He claims he "trained" the crowd to chant "ECW" for god sakes LOL (and I'm not making that up)

Denji
Denji

They wonder why it's dipping in sales? Because they're f'ing up everything and the games are dying (probably) partially because of this. No wonder this whole thing is being driven into the ground. Because all three of these groups are fighting like children. Even though I want a good WWE game (because we haven't had one in years), I hope the "simple control scheme" doesn't belong to THQ or Jaks. If another dev picks up the Smackdown franchise, I hope it doesn't revert back to the "Acclaim" control scheme when it was: [Up, Up, Down, Down, Left, Right, Right, Right, Down, Down, Left, Up, Left, Left, Up, Down, X, R1 and Square] to do an Irish Whip... :\

kenstar1
kenstar1

i hope new teams make a wwe game my fav where know your role

K1LLR3175
K1LLR3175

I hope someone else starts to make these wwe games. THQ is making this game very stale