THQ dead in six months, says Take-Two CEO

Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Grand Theft Auto publisher Take-Two, has said that struggling rival THQ will be out of business within six months.

Speaking at the MIT Business In Gaming conference in Massachusetts last week, Zelnick admitted that his own company hadn't had the best year – it is now forecasting an annual loss after delaying Rockstar's Max Payne 3 to May – but said that THQ's situation was far worse because, quite simply, its games aren't good enough.

"[For years] THQ's strategy was licensed properties, first and foremost," he said, according to Joystiq. "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 [in 2007], is 100 per cent owned intellectual property.

"The most important difference is quality. Take-Two has the highest quality ratings among thirdparty publishers, according to Metacritic and most people in the industry. Quality really, really matters. THQ has 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."

Strong stuff, but the facts are on Zelnick's side: it's been a miserable start to 2012 for THQ. So far this year it has posted increased losses, faced calls for senior management to be fired, cut 240 staff and discontinued its uDraw tablet.

It has until July to raise its share price above $1 and keep it there for ten days to avoid the loss of its Nasdaq listing. Late last month it cut a further 118 jobs and scrapped its Warhammer 40,000 MMOG, changing tack completely to turn it into a singleplayer game with a multiplayer component.

The troubled publisher hit back at Zelnick's comments, telling Joystiq: "Obviously, Mr Zelnick's perception of THQ is outdated and inaccurate.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."