It’s always a little bit peculiar when one company’s boss talks about another company’s prospects but Take-Two CEO, Strauss Zelnick, has gone further than I think we’ve ever seen in the past.
THQ won’t be around in six months.
Zelnick’s words came during a talk at the MIT Business in Gaming conference yesterday and were first picked up on by the fine fellows at Joystiq. During the talk, Zelnick admitted that Take-Two’s financials weren’t exactly rosy, showing a year-on-year decline. But he insisted that the difference between his company and THQ was that his strategy of focussing on quality would pay off in the long run.
According to Zelnick, THQ’s reliance on licensed properties was strangling their profitability thanks to repeatedly renegotiated deals narrowing their margins. He acknowledged THQ’s attempt at a drive towards first party IP a few years ago but also pointed out how that hadn’t gone well for them.
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 has since responded by saying “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 Zelnick’s perception of THQ is outdated and inaccurate.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.”
Sticking to your own business is certainly good advice but aside from the wonderful (and successful) Saints Row The Third, THQ’s first party IP in recent years kind of lends weight to Zelnick’s words. The Red Faction franchise took a big step backwards and Homeland and MX vs ATV were critical and financial failures, by all accounts. Perhaps 2012, with Darksiders II will be their year to put out some exceptional games based on their own IP and prove Zelnick, and many others, wrong.