THQ's income drops, S.T.A.L.K.E.R. delayed

Departure of COO Eric Doctorow also makes news in today's earnings call as THQ repositions some big games away from the hot holiday season.

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THQ today released its operating results for its fiscal 2005 first quarter. For the three months ending June 30, 2004, the company reported net sales of $88.2 million and a net loss of $3.9 million. Last year for the same quarter, the publisher reported net sales of $98.1 million and a net loss of $3.6 million.

In addition to the revenue figures reported today, the company announced two items of strategic importance. First, THQ has decided to hold back S.T.A.L.K.E.R. from its calendar Q4 release date and is now targeting the January-March quarter in 2005 for the game. In today's earnings' call, THQ CEO Brian Farrell referenced the likely holiday releases of Halo 2 and Doom 3, stating, "Let's keep S.T.A.L.K.E.R. away from that." Earlier in the call, Farrell was slightly more diplomatic, telling one analyst that the first calendar quarter was merely the "right window" to launch a new franchise. THQ is also repositioning WWE: Wrestlemania XXI on its release calendar.

"We have strategically scheduled S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl for PC, Pandemic Studios' Destroy All Humans for PlayStation 2 and Xbox, and The Punisher, from internal studio Volition, for PlayStation 2 and Xbox for the fiscal fourth quarter, which we believe to be an optimal window for establishing new intellectual properties. In addition, we plan to release WWE: Wrestlemania XXI for Xbox in the fourth quarter in conjunction with the WWE's Wrestlemania promotional push," said Farrell in a statement released before the call.

The company also revealed that its COO, Eric Doctorow, was no longer with the company. THQ CEO Brian Farrell is assuming the COO role until a replacement for Doctorow can be found.

And finally, Farrell said that THQ was on board to develop game properties around the Disney/Pixar movie Cars in its fiscal year 2005.

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