Take-Two CEO blames licensing strategy for THQ's woes

Strauss Zelnick: ‘THQ won’t be around in six months’

"THQ won’t be around in six months," Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick told the MIT business in gaming conference today.

THQ has had a rough year by any estimate, with several weak launches, hundreds of layoffs, and NASDAQ threatening to delist the company if shares do not climb.

But according to Joystiq, the real problem was the company’s strategy, which Zelnick feels relied too heavily on licensed games.

"THQ’s strategy was licensed properties, first and foremost," he said.

"License stuff from other people, whether it’s UFC or WWE or a motion picture property, and make a game around that."

Zelnick believes that licensed properties put too much in the hands of license holders, at the expense of publishers; as the publisher builds the brand, the contract will be re-negotiated, and more expensive.

Zelnkick recognized THQ have partially changed course, but said this isn’t something that can be done overnight.

Licensing alone isn’t to blame.

"Quality really, really, really matters," said Zelnick. "THQ has had some good games, but their quality… hasn’t measured up."

"Strategy didn’t work and the execution was bad. To put it another way: the food was no good and the portions were small."

Zelnick concluded sharply, "THQ won’t be around in six months."

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