In the past, we’ve reported multiple times about the troubled state of publisher THQ, with the general consensus being that they’ll become smaller and publish less games, but Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick takes things a bit further: He thinks THQ won’t exist in six months.
Speaking at the MIT Business in Gaming conference today, he compared Take-Two’s strategy on core game development to that of THQ:
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. And our approach, since we took over the company, is 100 percent owned intellectual property.
Zelnick stated that licensed properties simply leaves publishers at the license holders’ mercy, and that no matter how good the game is, the publisher will have to renegotiate the license in a few years and that the profit margins will be less because the brand will be worth more because of the good game. Zelnick admitted that THQ has begun to create its own content, but not enough and too late.
The most important difference is quality. 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.
THQ responded to Zelnick’s statements, saying to Joystiq:
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 Zelnick’s perception of THQ is outdated and inaccurate.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.
If what Zelnick is saying does pan out to be correct, it paints a worrying future for titles like South Park and Guillermo’s inSANE.