THQ: Expect sequels every other year

Publisher confirms a new Red Faction, tells investors to plan for biennial sequels to owned intellectual properties.

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Some of the biggest names in gaming over the last few years have been franchises with annual installments, like Madden NFL, Need for Speed, Splinter Cell, and Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. While THQ relies on annualized franchises of its own (it has new WWE SmackDown! and Pixar film-based games ready to go each year), the publisher today told investors that for its owned properties like Saints Row and Destroy All Humans!, they should expect sequels every other year.

Speaking at Pacific Crest Securities' Digital Media and Entertainment Forum today, THQ CFO Ed Zinser reiterated the publisher's desire to derive more of its revenue from intellectual properties it owns, as opposed to successful licensed franchises like the WWE, Pixar, and Nickelodeon games. Zinser pointed to the company's stable of owned intellectual properties, and in doing so actually confirmed a Red Faction sequel that had only been hinted at before.

"We've got Saints Row which was launched recently, this [fiscal] year, Red Faction from a few years back which you'll be seeing in the future as a sequel, Stuntman scheduled for fiscal '08, Juiced, which is a racing title, MX, which is an off-road racing title, and Destroy All Humans! as well," Zinser said. "All launched over the past several years [and sold] a million units-plus, and all titles we believe have sequel potential for the future."

Though the games haven't broken into the million-selling club just yet, Zinser also named Company of Heroes and the upcoming Frontlines: Fuel of War as strong owned properties, telling the audience, "You should expect to see sequels on varying platforms--most of them multiplatform--probably on an every-other-year kind of timeframe over the cycle."

Zinser also said that THQ isn't done building its roster of owned intellectual properties, saying the company has plans to launch a couple new intellectual properties a year throughout the console cycle. THQ's list of licensed annualized games will also be expanding, as Zinder said the recently announced Ultimate Fighting Championship will see yearly sequels after the original release.

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