"Darksiders II's performance and a history of game delays and cancelations leaves us skeptical that THQ can successfully execute its turnaround strategy, which centers on a streamlined release slate," says Wedbush Securities' Pachter.
He points to the publisher's recent abandonment of two high-profile projects, InSane (from film director Guillermo del Toro) and Devil's Third (from Valhalla Game Studios, a new team headed by former Ninja Gaiden director Tomonobu Itagaki), as a potential problem for THQ, as it looks to boost its revenues with new releases.
Pachter predicts that THQ will beat analyst estimates of around $75-85 million in revenues when the publisher reports its second quarter earnings (on November 5), even though its software sales during the July-September months were down year-over-year by 18 percent, according to NPD. He advised caution to investors for the rest of the fiscal year, though, warning "management has a history of missteps."
Developed by THQ's Virgil Games studio, Darksiders II was the top-selling title of the month at U.S. retail when it shipped in August for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Windows (a Wii U version will also release when that console launches in November). The original Darksiders, which debuted in January 2010, has also sold over 1 million copies.