THQ Was Its Own Worst Enemy, Former Chief Says

THQ Was Its Own Worst Enemy, Former Chief Says
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On one hand Jason Rubin, the final president of now-defunct THQ, isn’t making excuses for the publisher’s failure. Asked by MCV if the industry pains squeezing out mid-tier publishers are what sank the company, Rubin said no, THQ created a lot of its own problems.

“THQ had every chance to survive had it not made massive mistakes,” Rubin added. Mistakes that were made “long before I joined”.

It may sound self-serving but Rubin is totally right. Danny Bilson was in charge when THQ was throwing good money after bad on things like uDraw and kiddie titles, and when Bilson was fired in May, few tears were shed for him in his own company.

Rubin’s blunt about the failures, citing:

the incredible losses attached to uDraw, massive wasted capital in the unpublished MMO that was cancelled, sticking with children’s and casual titles far after mobile and tablets had killed the business, bad, late, or otherwise inferior titles like Homefront, and a generally haphazard and inefficient approach to deal making, left the company with too much negative hanging on its books.

As for Homefront, Rubin wouldn’t attribute its flop to bad luck or to an audience that just didn’t warm up to the game. And Homefront was a Bilson favourite, too.

MCV’s postmortem on THQ goes into a lot more detail about the firm’s demise and its sale, including the general surprise that neither Electronic Arts nor Warner Bros showed up to bid on any of THQ’s studios or assets. There’s also an explanation for why Koch Media paid $US22.3 million for Volition and Saints Row when the backup bid by Ubisoft was only $US5.4 million.

But there’s nothing about the fate of WWE, of course. Probably with publicly traded companies and contracts involved, no one is answering any questions about that deal — with $US45 million left on it — until a new owner is found, which is rumoured to be Take-Two Interactive, publisher of 2K Sports.

The collapse of THQ: The full story [MCV]


  • I can just imagine all the hard working, passionate people diligently working away doing the best they can with what they’ve got on the ground level, while a whole bunch of executives with no idea screw everything up from the top.

    Putting resources into something no one wants (udraw), cancelling games instead of finishing and releasing them (or at the very least turning them into something else so assets aren’t wasted), pursuing markets that are in decline, and the clincher – releasing rushed, sub standard games that don’t sell and also hurt their reputation.

    Yep sounds like clueless executive decisions to me, well done.

  • Another issue, was THQ bought and closed down so many studios between 2004-2011, more than double of EA who became infamous for such a practice.

  • Having worked in the industry for a publisher that went broke for very similar reasons, it’s really disappointing to see this rubbish continuing. When the CEO is getting a bonus equivalent to the salary of the 50 people he just laid off, there’s something wrong with the culture.

    And that’s just it. It’s all about the share price now; the eyes aren’t on the products. Marketing decides what ‘features’ go into games because they ‘sell’.

    Roll on indie games.

  • Red Faction Armageddon was another one that lost THQ a lot of money. Instead of investing in a bigger and better version of RF Guerrilla, they turned the series into a mediocre linear shooter. We wanted destroyable future cities and more open world mayhem, not underground linearity. Armageddon wasn’t a terrible game, but it wasn’t great either.

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