THQ has been struggling to get a bit of sun for a number of years now since it finds itself competing against the likes of Electronic Arts (EA) Games and Activision, companies capable of allocating a much higher budget to development and marketing of games.
The situation appears to be becoming even grimmer for the company as the newly appointed THQ President Jason Rubin notes the video game console market is moving closer to a PC model which offers much more options to the players as compared to the standard $60 boxed goods.
“As time progresses, the entire industry will move closer to what we see in the PC model emerging now, which is a lot of different-sized games and different types of games that all get a place in the sun because you can buy things that aren’t $60 boxed goods,” Rubin said.
The PC model puts a wide range of games of various sizes and types on the shelves, all with their own unique appeal, thus offering gamers a wide range of variety and experience to choose from. These games do not necessarily feature the best graphics, but the gameplay is appealing enough to win the interest of gamers.
The reason why this is of concern for THQ is because the company specialises in $60 retail packaged games. Even though it is not the biggest fish in the pond as far as console market is concerned, it is still able to make a significant impact through titles that manage to get scores in the eighties as far as the reviews are concerned. It even managed to move into the nineties with the real-time strategy game Company of Heroes, though for some reason the company is yet to come out with a sequel. Titles such as Darksiders and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) is what is keeping the company afloat and if the market of such games falls, THQ will definitely find themselves struggle for survival.
The gradual shifting of console market to PC model from standard boxed goods is not something that the company has become aware of just now. It has seen it happening for quite some time and even attempted to react to the situation by expanding beyond its current model. The attempts, however, had not exactly gone the way it would have liked. A micro-transaction-driven version of Company of Heroes had been in works, but the game failed to move beyond the beta phase and got cancelled. It also ending up scuttling a free-for-play version of WWE game specifically planned for the Asian market. A subscription-based massive multi-player online role-playing game (RPG) Warhammer 40,000 Dark Millennium was instead changed to a single-played focused RPG halfway through development.
It would be interesting to see if THQ continues to focus on $60 boxed goods or if it makes another attempt to adopt the PC model for designing games.