THQ IP still in need of new homes

Unpurchased franchises and back catalog titles to be sold off in coming weeks; Rubin calls lack of Vigil bids "a travesty"

While series like Saints Row, Metro, and Homefront were sold off in the first THQ bankruptcy auction, the company's leftover intellectual property and back catalog will have a second shot at finding new homes. In the wake of yesterday's auction, THQ president Jason Rubin told Game Informer that the remaining assets will be sold off "in the coming weeks" as part of a separate process.

In looking back on his seven months with THQ, Rubin said that the market was particularly hostile to second-tier publishers like THQ.

"I believe that in the near future, digital distribution and alternate business models will bring a greater percentage of dollars spent on games back to the publisher/developer," Rubin said. "Based on that change, in a few years, a THQ would be able to survive, and larger publishers will be even more profitable. But the next few years of transition are going to be incredibly challenging for all AAA game companies. "

The company's original plan to sell its entire operation to Clearlake Capital for $60 million may have provided it with the funding it needed to weather the current storm, but Rubin said the decision to allow the company to be sold piecemeal sealed its fate. Speaking of that auction (which brought in $72 million for the bankrupt company), Rubin didn't believe it fairly valued the assets picked up.

"The price that the teams and products 'went for' at auction seem to me to have no bearing on the underlying value," Rubin said. "If someone tries to judge the quality of the products by the price paid for them they are doing themselves no favor."

Rubin pointed to Vigil and its new project Crawler as evidence of that. The studio received no bids, something Rubin deemed "a travesty."

"It makes no sense to me," Rubin said. "If I weren't barred from bidding as an insider, I would have been there with my checkbook. I'm sure that's little consolation to the team, but that's a fact."

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Latest comments (10)

Patrick Frost QA Project Monitor 6 years ago
Nintendo have been repeatedly saying that they don't have the workforce to produce the amount of games at the speed that the public would like so they have been working with third parties and doing all of these crossover projects. Surely Vigil would fit nicely in and build them a bit more of a western developer base?
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Surely its worth a risk - or even for MS. Buy them, make them work on a launch/immediate title, and go from there.

Mind you, its all financial - funding the running of an entire studio for 2-3 years won't be cheap. Probably a lot cheaper to pay an existing running studio to make the same game.
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John Bye Lead Designer, Freejam6 years ago
Is there a list anywhere of what's left to sell, IP-wise? I've seen Darksiders, Homeworld, de Blob and Red Faction listed in various places, but I've not found a complete list yet.
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Stephan Schwabe Multichannelmanagement, Telefonica6 years ago
Patrick i think your right its a great opportunity for Nintendo get Vigil. Thy are a great studio with good games. If Vigil is ownd by Nintnedo the games would change from good to awesome. I wish them the best i had so much fun with all ther games.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stephan Schwabe on 25th January 2013 9:10am

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Alan Wilson Vice President, Tripwire Interactive6 years ago
If this article is a fair reflection, I'm not overly impressed with Jason Rubin...
in the near future, digital distribution and alternate business models will bring a greater percentage of dollars spent on games back to the publisher/developer,
In the near future? This has been working for 5 years already. Someone seems to think that this change is just starting. A few years behind the curve, aren't we?
The price that the teams and products 'went for' at auction seem to me to have no bearing on the underlying value,
Seriously? The company has slowly crumbled to dust and (mixing metaphors badly here) they have had to resort to a fire sale. The ONLY reason anyone coming in to this auction with a check book cares about the "underlying value" is to ensure that they are as far below it as they can get away with and still win.

And a list of the remaining IP would indeed be interesting!
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Chris Payne Managing Director & Founder, Quantum Soup Studios6 years ago
It is a shame no-one bid for Vigil, but I don't think it reflects badly on the studio - in this climate there will be fewer companies able to risk speculative acquisitions. It's sad and a bit ironic that Vigil may have been passed over precisely because they were the most creative member of the THQ stable - publishers went for the more tried and trusted shooters and sandboxes over Vigil's harder-to-pigeonhole work.

I hope everyone at THQ and all their subsidiaries finds new roles one way or another...
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Benn Achilleas CEO and Founder, Playabl6 years ago
What IP is left?
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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers6 years ago
@Alan Wilson

For the digital distribution, I believe the full context of the quote says that he thinks that it will be more feasible for a mid-level publisher like THQ to exist mostly or totally on the proceeds of digital distribution. That's been a bottom-up phenomenon, whereas it used to only be viable with smaller, cheaper titles, increasingly downloadable titles have larger and larger budgets. From his perspective, it's not quite there to support a publisher like THQ yet, but it probably will get there.

As for what sold, I think he just believes in THQ's developers and products, and as a company president he probably should. In the full interview, he was obviously upset over the fate of Vigil, which didn't find a buyer at any price.
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Well, lets hold a Vigil for Vigil - there are still some dev/publishers out there who can find the right marriage
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Zidaya Zenovka Blogger, Writer, freelance artist. 6 years ago
I think this guy tried to do right by the developers and employees, and I actually think he really does give a crap.
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