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THQ Lays Off 200 Employees, Closes Australian Studios

THQ Lays Off 200 Employees, Closes Australian Studios

August 9, 2011 | By Tom Curtis

Publisher THQ announced today that it has closed two of its studios and laid off approximately 200 employees as part of a larger plan to narrow the company's development focus.

THQ says that it has decided to close a pair of its studios in Australia, and has eliminated a development team at the company's Phoenix location. A trustworthy Australian industry source on NeoGAF identified the shuttered Australian studios as THQ Studio Australia and Blue Tongue, both of which primarily focused on licensed titles.

According to the THQ, the company is currently in the process of transitioning away from developing kids titles and movie-based games. The company also noted that it has "decided not to actively pursue further development of the MX vs. ATV franchise at this time."

"With this realignment, we are narrowing our focus to high-quality owned IP with broad appeal that can be leveraged across multiple platforms, and to work with the best talent in the industry. By right-sizing our internal development capacities for our console portfolio, our five internal studios are focused on delivering high-quality games with talented teams driving the execution of those titles to market," said THQ president and CEO Brian Farrell.

"As we have outlined in our business strategies, we are making shifts to reduce movie-based and licensed kids' video games in our portfolio, which underscores our strategy to move away from games that will not generate strong profits in the future."

Following these studio closures, THQ's five remaining internal studios include THQ Montreal (Unannounced title), Volition (Saints Row: The Third, inSANE), Relic Entertainment (Company of Heroes, Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine), Vigil Games (Darksiders II), and THQ San Diego (WWE All Stars).

THQ also reiterated its "four pillar digital strategy," which is to focus on major console titles such as Saints Row: The Third, to target iOS and Facebook with titles such as the Jimmy Buffet-inspired Margaritaville Online, to bring in regular revenue with the MMO Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millennium Online, and to drive sales through existing channels as well as through the THQ website.

Last March, the company laid off over 30 employees at Homefront developer Kaos Studios and Saints Row developer Volition. In June, THQ closed Kaos altogether alongside the UK-based Digital Warrington.

THQ also recently noted that it has chosen not to pursue future titles in its sci-fi Red Faction franchise, saying that the game "did not resonate with a sufficiently broad console gaming audience."

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