Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick doesn’t foresee much longevity for troubled publisher THQ – the gaffer told an audience at the MIT Business in Gaming Conference that he believes the firm will be fully shuttered in six months time.
Zelnick expanded that he believes the publisher’s biggest mistake was working with licensed properties. He explained that even when a company does a great job on a property, licenses need to be renegotiated, and it can result in a decrease in profit margins for a brand it built up in the first place.
The outspoken executive continued:
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. Our approach, since we took over the company, is 100% owned intellectual property.
While Zelnick did concede that Take-Two hasn't had the best of years either, he countered that the publisher’s focus on quality will always pay off in the end.
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.
[Changing the company] strategy didn’t work [for THQ] 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.
Naturally THQ wasn’t too happy about Zelnick’s comments, prompting corporate communications vice president Angela Emery to counter with the following statement:
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 Zelnick's perception of THQ is outdated and inaccurate.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.
Zing. What do you think of THQ's current situation? The publisher’s had a rough run but it has some good games in the pipeline, with Darksiders II probably being the most notable. There's certainly logic in what Zelnick's saying — but we'd absolutely hate for THQ to just outright disappear.