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The shake-up: Layoffs, CEO salary cuts, a move to exit kid’s titles – Will THQ reap its rewards?

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Following the announcement that Volition’s Saints Row: The Third had shipped (Note: Not sold) an impressive 3.8 million units since its release in November, with an additional five to six million expected over the title’s lifetime, THQ revealed that the publisher intends to exit the once-lucrative kid’s games market in order to become “a more streamlined organization focused only on our strongest franchises.”

Focus, too, will be given to THQ’s digital distribution efforts as a result of the success of Saints Row: The Third’s downloadable content offerings.

Since these announcements were made, however, the situation has turned very dire for THQ.

More recently, THQ’s stocks have dropped below $1 a share on NASDAQ and have remained below this important mark for over 30 consecutive days. As a result, the New York Stock Exchange has threatened to de-list THQ should the share price not rise above $1 within 180 days, or July 23rd.

In addition, THQ has confirmed that a total of 240 jobs will be cut by March 2012. According to reports, none of these redundancies will be made up of development staff, but support staff instead.

THQ CEO Brian Farrell, too, will shoulder some of the publisher’s burden by reducing his current salary by half. Beginning February 13th, Farrell’s annual salary will amount to $359 250 (as opposed to $718 500). According to his new contract, however, Farrell’s salary will return to ‘normal’ by February 2013.

THQ is undergoing great change and is experiencing great strife, but the publisher’s insistence on releasing sequels to titles such as Darksiders and Metro 2033 this year, its confidence in 2011’s Saints Row: The Third and investment in Guillermo del Toro’s inSANE series, as well as its partnership with Tomonobu Itagaki for Devil’s Third and the signing of Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Désilets, all point to a company that is yet to reap the rewards of its actions.

The release of UFC Undisputed 3 on February 14th in the US and February 17th elsewhere is also sure to be a great windfall for the company.

We hope THQ is able to get through these rough times in order to see its just rewards.


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