THQ filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2012 and has completed the final auction to sell THQ’s various studios and franchises – the company has also laid off most staff.
The previous auctions have seen bids around $25 million for studios, but this final auction only had $6 – 7 million. These auctions gave the buyers the IP rights to the franchises, allowing them to develop and publish future titles.
THQ has been in trouble for a while now, with debts rising since early 2010. The video game developer was incapable of making money back on recent titles and with big development studios they had to file for bankruptcy.
In the first bidding session, this is how the titles and studios were distributed:
- Koch Media – Volition (Saints Row) & Metro – $28 million
- SEGA – Relic & Company of Heroes – $26 million
- Take Two – Evolve – $10.8 million
- Ubisoft – THQ Montreal & South Park: Stick of Truth – $5.7 million
- Crytek – Homefront – $500,000
This brought in around $70 million for THQ and they now have an extra $7 million from selling the titles Darksiders, Red Faction and Homeworld. Red Faction was well loved title, however the newest release, Armageddon, took away a lot of the fun of the series.
The auction received 17 bids, we expect Ubisoft, Take Two and perhaps Zenimax to have tried to grab some of the titles. Zenimax is the owner of Bethesda, the well known developer and publisher – Bethesda recently said they wanted to make big steps in the publishing market.
Not much is known about what will happen to the franchises, it takes a while for another studio to get to work on a bought franchise. We again come back to Bethesda, who spent seven years developing Fallout 3.
THQ will present all these sales to the court for approval and we may see a revival of the company, although if this happens, it will be a different company with a smaller studio and less staff.