THQ cancels 2014 lineup?
IGDA source claims publisher has cancelled Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online, along with its entire 2014 lineup, due to financial trouble. UPDATE: THQ has denied rumor, saying it has not cancelled the planned MMOG or its 2014 lineup.
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Source: The Twitter feed of Kevin Dent, head of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) Mobile Special Interest Group.
What we heard: Late last year, THQ cut its quarterly sales forecast by one-quarter and laid off 30 employees from its Agoura Hills, California-based Play THQ team, citing weaker-than-expected sales from its Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of its uDraw gaming-tablet peripheral.
Now, an industry source is claiming that the publisher has cancelled its entire 2014 lineup, including development on Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online.
Kevin Dent, head of the IGDA Mobile Special Interest Group, first tweeted: "Apparently, The Game Workshops MMO has been cancelled by THQ", before going on to clarify that THQ's entire 2014 lineup has been cancelled because the publisher "needs to preserve cash."
Dent then revealed that THQ has apparently begun to return IP to publishers, tweeting that THQ has returned IP to Disney after paying an advance with no chance of a refund and that they "are offering themselves to Asian firms to increase value."
In a later tweet, Dent clarified his position by saying: "…until THQ says "x," it is all speculation and rumors."
The official story: THQ has replied with a "No comment" response. [Update: see below.]
Bogus or not bogus: It's too early to tell. Dent is well placed as an industry source, but THQ has had a good run in the past 12 months. Saints Row: The Third preorders tracked four times higher than Saints Row 2, with the publisher already announcing a Saints Row 4. This year, THQ is slated to release a new WWE game, Darksiders II, and Metro: Last Light.
UPDATE: THQ has responded with an official comment to the rumor, saying it has not cancelled its 2014 lineup:
"THQ has not cancelled its 2014 lineup and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO."
"As part of the ongoing review of our business, we have made decisions to ensure that the company is strategically addressing the most attractive markets. As we have previously announced, we have dramatically reduced our commitment to the kids' boxed games sector, which leads to a significantly more focused release schedule moving forward. Our slate for calendar 2012 and beyond is focused on high-quality core games and continues to build our digital platform and business. We are excited for our pipeline of original and high-quality content along with our relationships with some of the best talent in the industry."
"Additionally, we are thrilled with the great performance of Saints Row: The Third, which on a like for like period in North America has tripled in sell-through from Saints Row 2. In addition, WWE '12's worldwide sell-through sales are up almost 40 percent year-over-year for the same sales period with fewer platforms."
"According to NPD, for the month of December and the 2011 year, THQ was the number five publisher overall, number four third party, with reported sell through growing over 18 percent in a market that was down almost 6 percent. And coming up next, we have two great titles for the first half of the year, including UFC Undisputed 3 and Darksiders 2."