January 6, 2013

The Death Of THQ

As early as 5 years ago, their market share value was a little over 5 billion dollars. Just this past a few weeks ago, they’re 11 million in value. We are watching a Titan perish.

Times are harder now than they’ve been for what seems like forever ago, and sadly none of us even have money to grieve. The year was 2012, and we had seen dozens of game developers perish under the radar of economics, along with some of our favorite titles dragged along with them.

I’m what’s called a sixth and seventh generation gamer, meaning that I’ve been into the video game world since the dawn of this millennium. I’ve seen various games come and go, many of them fading into distant memories of my childhood.

The global economy has been particularly emotionally gripping for everyone, and in all factors of our lives we have suffered in some way. In the home, in the workplace, and especially in the home entertainment area where we can get away for a few hours and relax. Probably the most obvious flag of hard times that gamers saw was back in 09 when Pandemic Studios closed its doors.

Pandemic won all of our hearts with the classic Battlefront series, giving us a new and ridiculously fun perspective on a Star Wars game. That fun became an addiction and marked these guys as the founding fathers of originality and great games in the 21st¬†century. But it would seem that the only way for companies to stay alive anymore is to abandon their passion and focus on profits. EA, Ubisoft, and especially Activision – these companies have survived for years now because of rushed deadlines and desperate attempts to include multi-player as the focal point for their games. Can we say that we legitimately respect them after all they’ve done?

I can’t.

I remember when popping a game into your disc tray meant an emotional grasp of the game you were playing. We just couldn’t wait to see who was the new protagonist in Assassin’s Creed 2, or even better to find out what peril Marcus Fenix and the COG had gotten themselves into. Nowadays, competitive multi-player and constant advertisements for CoD ELITE flood my emails and dashboard. Halo 4 consistently pops the Crimson map pack in my face every time I load up for Spartan Ops, as if I’m not smart enough to remember the last thirty times I saw that ad. Every week I’m seeing ads to buy the next DLC for online play in BF3, new medals, new accomplishments, new vehicles, new new and more new.

New lies.

I have no respect for most companies anymore, and it’s because in their quest to survive an economic hardship, they’ve forgotten to have respect for me. But in my anger, there are of course the guys who you can trust.

Rockstar Games, Bathesda, and of course THQ.

THQ is one of those companies that you just can’t help but wonder about. They’re still very young as a company and the promise they’ve shown in their games is more than adequate to warrant expectations of a bright and innovative future. But it’s because of that very same reason that the publishing giant is going under.

THQ has been known for their quirky, and at the same time creative titles, such as WWE, Red Faction and of course Saints Row. Over the last few years, these guys have fallen rapidly as they still try to hold some bit of ground of their old power. Back in 2007 their market share was valued at 5 billion dollars, and now sits around an embarrassing 11.3 million.

How could this have happened?

We can find the answer to that when we take a look at their previous attempts of innovations. First of all, understand that THQ has tried too hard at this point to push more than they can very well lift. With their attempt at the Udraw tablet last year, it was clear that THQ’s mind was not where it needed to be. With a shockingly low demand for their technology, followed by a lawsuit from investors to report that low demand, the innovation of Udraw was one of the factors that robbed the company of its hard-earned respect. Of course, it doesn’t help at all that their previous releases of WWE and Armageddon both sold under expectations.

Their earliest release of Saints Row The Third has gamers running around with rocket launchers and six foot dildos as the Third Street Saints, an international crime group known as pop stars. It would look like THQ’s absolute last hope to pull them out of the slums is Saints Row, if they will survive long enough to issue the funds to publish it.

If not, then we are witnessing yet again another Titan in the publishing industry perish in the fires of this economy. My thoughts and condolences go out to THQ and all its employees, in hopes that a great group of guys remain alive to give us joy in gaming.

Image Credit: Andrey_Kuzmin / Shutterstock

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