$30m loss for THQ in Q1

Disappointing UFC sales hit publisher, franchise may not receive annual updates

UFC publisher THQ has reported a $30.1 million loss for the first quarter, compared to a profit of $6.4m for the same period last year.

Net sales were down to $149.4 million from $243.5 million, in a period that saw the publisher only release one major title mixed martial arts fighter UFC 2010 Undisputed. In the first quarter of the previous financial year THQ released UFC Undisputed 2009 and first-person shooter Red Faction: Guerrilla

In a conference call to investors, CEO Brian Farrell blamed lower sales of the latest UFC game for the loss, suggesting users were not willing to upgrade to the latest game as they were still playing the 2009 version.

He also said that the publisher may lengthen the time between new releases in the franchise, although he added that the 2.7 million copies of UFC 2010 Undisputed shipped suggested the series is still a strong sports brand.

In a statement Farrell said the company's goal this year was to position the publisher for growth in 2012, with new technology offering new opportunities.

"We are excited about the opportunity for industry growth provided by rapidly expanding online markets and new gaming platforms such as Kinect, Move and Nintendo 3DS," he offered. " We are developing franchises on these new gaming platforms and we are increasing our investment in online and digital gaming to benefit from these emerging markets."

Titles in development at THQ include Red Faction: Armageddon, Company of Heroes: Online, Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium and Devil's Third.

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Latest comments (3)

Sebastian Cardoso Project Manager, Crytek9 years ago
Fifa 09 sold 4.5 million copies on X360 and PS3. Fifa 10 sold 6 million copies in the year of the World Cup. That's an established, lasting franchise based on the most popular sport in the world. So I would say 2.7 million copies for UFC 2010 is a resounding success. I wonder why they would have expected to sell more than 3 million?
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Optimistic forecast?
Its a tough sporting field to muscle in onto in any given year anyways.
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I do find it worrying that shipments of 2.7m of a "niche" fighting title is effectively considered a failure. Its going to be a tough period for most publishers IMO - piracy, lower prices, 2nd-hand purchases & online sales are definitely eating into "core" gamer purchases.
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