THQ exiting kids' game business

Publisher abandoning its publishing efforts for children's titles, instead focusing on "key franchises"; Saints Row: The Third ships 3.8 million, new Company of Heroes confirmed.

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Following rumors that THQ had lost a publishing alignment with Disney and that the company was cancelling its entire 2014 lineup, the publisher this morning announced a new business strategy for 2012 and beyond.

THQ is saying goodbye to Spongebob and hello to Saints Row.
THQ is saying goodbye to Spongebob and hello to Saints Row.

According to a statement issued by the company, THQ is exiting the kids' licensed entertainment business. Instead, the company's newest strategy calls for it to focus on "core" franchises and initiatives.

THQ has been a player in the children's game sector for some time, publishing a range of licensed titles, including numerous Spongebob and movie tie-in games. While THQ is dropping the children's game business, it will continue to sell a selection of its previously released kids' games.

"THQ will be a more streamlined organization focused only on our strongest franchises," said THQ CEO and president Brian Farrell.

As for its digital initiatives, THQ said it wants to spark revenues in this sector by "extending and supporting" console launches, as well as by creating new properties for unspecified emerging platforms.

Moving forward, THQ said it will focus instead on its "key franchises," which were specifically cited as UFC, Darksiders, Company of Heroes, inSane, Saints Row, Warhammer 40,000, and the in-development game from former Ubisoft developer Patrice Desilets.

The last Company of Heroes that was released in the West came in 2009. A microtransaction-driven spinoff called Company of Heroes Online made it to the open beta phase of development, but THQ pulled the plug on that project earlier this year.

On top of its internal studios and their games, THQ said it remains committed to working with external development teams on existing and new franchises. What's more, the publisher said it is seeking to "establish new franchises on the next generation of game devices."

THQ said it will discuss its new business plan in more detail during its third quarter 2012 financial call, scheduled for February 2.

In addition to outlining its new business model, THQ provided new shipment figures for Volition's open-world game Saints Row: The Third. The publisher announced that the game has shipped 3.8 million units since its November launch for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. Looking ahead, THQ is forecasting a lifetime shipment tally for the game of 5 to 6 million units.

For more on Saints Row: The Third, check out GameSpot's review.

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