THQ loses $56 million in holiday quarter

Darksiders II set for June, Devil's Third and Metro: Last Light hit early next year as publisher posts results that led to layoffs, killing of kids' games business.


It was a red Christmas for THQ, as the publisher today revealed heavy losses for the holiday quarter that led to its recent restructuring and layoffs.

Don't read any significance into THQ's decision to dedicate a game to Death.
Don't read any significance into THQ's decision to dedicate a game to Death.

For the three months ended December 31, 2011, THQ posted a net loss of $55.9 million, several times the $14.9 million loss it endured for the previous year's holiday season. The publisher's sales also took a dip, down about 3 percent year-over-year to $305.4 million.

"Sales of the uDraw GameTablet and related software, and other titles in the kids, family and casual category were far weaker than anticipated, substantially reducing our financial results for the quarter," THQ CEO Brian Farrell said in a statement accompanying the earnings. The publisher also updated investors on its extrication from the licensed kids' game business, saying it had finished negotiations to separate itself from two of its licensors, and is still working on agreements with two others.

Not everything from THQ's earnings was grim. The publisher heralded Saints Row: The Third as the most successful owned-IP launch in company history, with the Volition-developed action game shipping 3.8 million copies to date, with between 5 million and 6 million in shipments expected over its full lifetime. WWE 12 also performed well for THQ, with shipments of more than 2 million copies, and sell-through up 29 percent over the previous year's holiday WWE game (on a platform-by-platform basis).

Looking forward, THQ also laid out its release slate for coming fiscal years. After the Valentine's Day launch of UFC Undisputed 3, THQ's next big title will be Darksiders II, now expected to launch in June. After that, THQ expects Obsidian Entertainment's South Park Game and a new WWE game by the end of 2012, and Metro: Last Light and Devil's Third between January and March of 2013. THQ also has two unannounced games targeted at the core market for release by the end of March 2013.

Going even further out, THQ's fiscal 2014 (April 2013 - March 2014) includes Vigil and Relic's Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online, Volition and Guillermo del Toro's inSane, the Crytek-developed Homefront 2, THQ Montreal's original game from Patrice Desilets, and four more unannounced titles for core gamers. THQ didn't give clues about its unannounced titles other than to say the majority of them involve the company's own IP.

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