THQ Axes 17% of Staff Under 'New Strategic Plan'

Following THQ's closure of five internal studios--over 25% of its internal resources--earlier this week, the publisher has terminated 17% of its studio staff--roughly 250 people--under a "new strategic plan" that will "focus on fewer, higher quality titles."

Along with the studio closures, THQ cancelled "several titles that were in development but had not been publicly announced." The company cited decreased consumer confidence, a "cautious" retail environment, and problematic exchange rates as factors that lowered its overall expectations for the current year.

While THQ will now produce less games, the studio claims this strategy will allow it to have bigger budgets on select titles. Moving forward, it hopes to focus on fighting games, such as UFC titles, more rational kids and family games, and migrating "key brands" to the online arena, such as Company of Heroes and Warhammer 40,000.

"We have made substantial progress in improving product quality and innovation, as evidenced by recent shipments of several well-reviewed games including de Blob and Saints Row 2," explained THQ CEO Brian Farrell.

"We are aligning our business to be more competitive in key consumer segments and address the current business environment. We expect the combination of a much more focused and competitive product line with a more efficient cost structure to put THQ back on the path to growth and profitability in fiscal year 2010."

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From The Chatty
  • reply
    November 5, 2008 2:54 PM

    That sucks. I must say I'm glad I never went into game design. Between the horror stories of 100+ hour work weeks at EA and now all the layoff news, this industry is like banking but without the great pay.

    • reply
      November 5, 2008 6:08 PM

      yea, people are sucked into it thinking how cool it would be to work on games, when in reality it's really fucking hard, ridiculously long hours, unstable jobs and MEH pay.. all the things you've said.. doesn't sound much fun to me.. I love coming home at 5, having the weekends and every holiday to myself..

      game developer = slave

      • reply
        November 5, 2008 9:20 PM

        Although not true in all cases, this is a good indicator of most of the industry. The usual story is that fresh university grads (with little to no family/social commitments) go straight into the games industry and most burn out in the first 5 years. From what I've seen It's probably most fun in a smaller, tight-knit studio than in a production line 'throwing more labour into it and reporting to your 3rd-tier boss of middle management' kind of studio model.

        By the way, those that want to be game developers should really try making their own games first. That should give a good indication of what it is like. Its really easy to come up with ideas for games, but game development requires implementation, and it can be a lot of hard work.

      • reply
        November 6, 2008 1:21 AM

        I work at EA and I generally work 10-6, Monday to Friday. Sometimes I work later if I have to stay at work for a late hockey game anyway. Admittedly I could get better money in another industry, but I like how casual everything is. Crunch time really isn't that bad if your production team doesn't suck and they've actually planned out a reasonable feature set for the schedule.

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