Take-Two boss: "THQ won't be around in six months"

UPDATE: THQ brands remarks "irresponsible and false".

UPDATE: THQ's corporate communications vice president Angela Emery offered Eurogamer the following response:

"Obviously, Mr. Zelnick's perception of THQ is outdated and inaccurate. His comments are irresponsible and false. Perhaps he would be better off commenting on his own business."

ORIGINAL STORY: Beleaguered publisher THQ won't be in business six months from now, reckons Strauss Zelnick, CEO of rival outfit and GTA publisher Take-Two.

As reported by Joystiq, Zelnick made the claim at the MIT Business in Gaming conference earlier today, pointing to substandard games and an over-reliance on licensed properties as the cause of THQ's decline.

"THQ's strategy was licensed properties, first and foremost. License stuff from other people, whether it's UFC or WWE or a motion picture property, and make a game around that," explained Zelnick.

"And our approach, since we took over the company, is 100 per cent owned intellectual property."

He added that making licensed games leaves publishers at the mercy of the IP holder, who can cut margins every time they renegotiate a contract. Zelnick noted that although THQ has recently announced a change of direction away from such titles, it will take a long time to bring that into action.

"The most important difference is quality," he continued.

"Take-Two has the highest quality ratings among third-party publishers, according to Metacritic and most people in the industry. Quality really, really, really matters. THQ has had some good games, but their quality levels aren't even remotely... the quality hasn't measured up.

"Strategy didn't work and the execution was bad. To put it another way: the food was no good and the portions were small.

"THQ won't be around in six months," he concluded.

THQ's recent financial difficulties have been well-documented. It was forced to make deep staffing cuts after grossly over-estimating how many units its uDraw peripheral would sell, while CEO Brian Farrell cut his own salary in half.

Most recently it announced that its planned Warhammer MMO has been scaled back to a more limited single player experience.

We've asked THQ if it would care to offer Zelnick a rebuttal - we'll update should one be forthcoming.

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton is Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.


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