UFC pushes THQ to record results

[UPDATE]: Publisher revenues up 77 percent year-over-year thanks to nearly triple-platinum MMA game; Red Faction: Guerrilla hits 1 million, PC release date clarified.


Red Faction: Guerrilla
UFC Undisputed 2009

UFC 2009: Undisputed dominated the sales charts in its first month on sale, so it's little surprise the mixed martial arts game lifted THQ to record sales figures for the quarter of its release. The publisher today posted its financial results for the three months ended June 30, headlined by a whopping 77 percent increase in sales over the same stretch the year before.

UFC left THQ's old quarterly record bloody and hurt.
UFC left THQ's old quarterly record bloody and hurt.

THQ revenues jumped from $137.6 million in the first quarter of its fiscal 2009 to $243.5 million in the opening quarter of its fiscal 2010. The surge in sales was primarily attributed to Undisputed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3--which have collectively shipped 2.9 million copies worldwide--with an additional nod to Red Faction: Guerrilla and the 1 million copies shipped of its console editions. The quarter also saw a turnaround for the publisher, as it posted a net profit of $6.4 million, compared to the net loss of $27.2 million in the prior year's first quarter.

The results were strong enough for THQ to vaguely bump up its expectations for the year on a non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting procedures) basis. Where it previously expected sales for fiscal 2010 to be flat year-over-year, the publisher now expects this year's revenues to exceed last year's. Likewise, THQ strengthened some of the language in its projections, saying it "expects to achieve profitability" for the year, instead of merely "targeting profitability."

While THQ's last quarter set records for the company, it is not as optimistic about the current one. Noting that it has no new titles scheduled for release before the quarter's September 30 end, THQ projected non-GAAP revenues of $85 million to $95 million, down precipitously from the $151.6 million it brought in during the prior-year period. The publisher also expects to lose money for the quarter.

With no new releases planned through September, the publisher has once again delayed the PC version of Red Faction: Guerrilla. Weeks before the game was set to debut alongside its console counterparts, THQ said it needed more time and pushed it back to a generic "summer" release. Today's financial results indicate it won't be out before October. But the game is still included in THQ's current fiscal year calendar, which means a release is planned before April 2010.

[UPDATE 7/29]: THQ contacted GameSpot today to clarify a statement from its financial report.

"Red Faction: Guerrilla for the PC is still on track for worldwide release in September," a representative with the publisher said. "Yesterday’s earnings call was referencing the fact that there will be no new full releases in Q2 FY10."

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