Darksiders ships 1.2 million as THQ posts small profit

Publisher reports $542,000 in net income--way up from $191.8 million quarterly loss one year ago; MX vs. ATV Reflex to top 1 million by April 1, WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 sells 3.5 million units in three months.

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The past week saw Capcom, Nintendo, Microsoft, Namco Bandai, and Tecmo Koei all report earnings for their most recent quarter. Today, it was THQ's turn, with the company posting a $542,000 profit on $356.7 million in sales for the October-December quarter. Though a six-figure profit seems small when compared to such large revenue, it is a marked improvement from the $191.8 million loss the company suffered during the same quarter in 2008.

THQ is playing up the bright side of Darksiders' sales.
THQ is playing up the bright side of Darksiders' sales.

Though the company had not provided guidance for the quarter, THQ president and CEO Brian Farrell said "We are on track to achieve all of our fiscal 2010 financial targets," thanks to massive cost cutting and UFC 2009 Undisputed selling 3.5 million units. He also said that WWE Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 sold over 3.5 million units during the quarter, a figure not reflected in the NPD Group's monthly reports, which do count sales at Wal-Mart.

In a conference call with analysts, Farrell also called out The Biggest Loser as the most popular "independently developed fitness game in the US" with over 1 million units sold. He also expects MX vs. ATV Reflex to surpass 1 million units by April 1 and said that Drawn to Life: The Next Chapter has now topped 1 million units of lifetime sales.

For the 12 months ending March 31, THQ expects to post higher sales than it did during its 2008-2009 fiscal year. The company also expects to achieve profitability despite having to pay out $32.8 million to Jakks Pacific and $13.2 million to the World Wrestling Entertainment over a deal to exclusively publish WWE games for the next eight years. The company anticipates having at least $50 million in cash on hand at the end of its fiscal year, which also saw it strike a deal with DreamWorks Animation to make games on such films as Kung-Fu Panda 2.

THQ also used today's earnings presentation to announce that Darksiders has shipped--not sold--1.2 million units worldwide in just four weeks. There had been some doubt amongst analysts that the new fantasy IP, which launched in North America on January 5 to solid reviews, had achieved the publisher's sales goals. However, THQ declared the game now ranks alongside Red Faction, Saints Row, and de Blob in its first tier of wholly owned properties.

Executives re-confirmed a Red Faction: Guerrilla sequel for the coming fiscal year and said Saints Row 3 and Darksiders 2 were already in development. A new de Blob game is also planned, as is a sequel to the Biggest Loser and undetermined "brand extensions" of the WWE franchise.

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