The division is headed up by VP of publishing Martin Good and general manager Rodney Block, who report to Ian Curran, senior VP of international publishing for THQ. “In the early days, we were really just a sales and distribution office,” remembers Good. “But once we were up and running, we realised there was an opportunity for us to handle other publishers in the territory.”
Capcom was signed as an affiliate label in 2001 and THQ Asia Pacific has since added the likes of Sega, Disney, Koei, Ignition and Midas to its portfolio.
Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, THQ AP also boasts offices in Seoul, South Korea and Tokyo, Japan and has enjoyed significant success in tackling the challenges in Asia as a Western publisher. THQ titles now reach some 21 countries, including Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan, India and South East Asia. And Good believes that, because of its understanding of these territories, THQ AP is in a unique position to help other Western publishers target these markets.
“These territories are very different,” Good offers. “The types of games that are popular here are different, so we’ve had to learn quickly. But it’s paid off.”
“Smackdown has done very well in both Japan and Korea,” adds Curran. “And Destroy All Humans has also been successful in Japan, following our complete reworking of the characters and concept of the game which had to be done under Japanese law. It’s that sort of commitment to those markets that has served us well.”
Meanwhile, Icestorm Entertainment is the division to specifically represent third party publishers in Australia and New Zealand and, importantly, boasts its own sales and marketing team. This division, according to Good, is now looking to offer its services to other publishers: “Our affiliate labels programme is very successful. We are selective about the labels we handle, but we could probably take on up to three more decent sized portfolios.”
Another of THQ’s USPs in the Australasia market is in back catalogue product. Block explains: “We’re really pleased with the way we’ve managed to work this area. PS2 and GBA have been particularly good formats.”
With labels offering titles between AU$9.95 and AU$19.95, THQ boasts a market share of the budget sector of around 12.5 per cent by volume – which compares well to the UK’s share of eight per cent.