UK Juice and US Rainbow studios renamed and restructured under THQ Digital umbrella, charged with making online titles

60 THQ dev jobs gone in new digital push

THQ tonight has shaken up part of its studio operation, renaming its UK studio and one of its US teams.

As part of a new Digital Studios strategy, Juice Games in Warrington, UK will be called THQ Digital Warrington.

Meanwhile Phoenix, Arizona, USA studio Rainbow will now be called THQ Digital Phoenix.

Both are charged with working on new games projects for digital distribution platforms.

New technology developed in Warrington will support the push, which sees both existing franchises and new IPs considered for the likes of XBLA, PSN and iPhone. The first games from the effort are most likely to make it to market next year.

THQ plans to implement "a portfolio-wide community platform to connect consumers to all of THQ’s core games" – echoing Ubisoft’s own Uplay network it is building into all its future titles.

However the reshuffle comes at a cost – the publisher said 60 jobs in total will be lost from the two studios as part of the new strategy.

“Consumers are increasingly looking for deeper engagement with their favorite entertainment experiences. They also want to enjoy games and entertainment via convenient social and portable platforms that suit their lifestyle,” said Danny Bilson, EVP of THQ Core Games in a statement detailing the move.

“We plan to address these needs through a rich offering of content distributed across digital platforms, based both on all of our major core brands as well as new intellectual properties.”

In a conference call with investors after the announcement, THQ CEO Brian Farrell reiterated that it would take time to see the first THQ Digital releases, but that three ‘core brand’ titles were already in the works, including Company of Heroes Online. THQ also plans to release its first serious MMO, Warhammer 40,000, within the next two years.

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