A poor commercial reception for Darksiders 2 and money spent on the uDraw tablet mean delays for THQ's future games, and a worrying financial outlook.
Games publisher THQ has warned that it is going to be delaying three of its games following a significant net loss for the quarter.
Confirmed in the company's latest earnings calls, the delays will hit three of THQ's titles originally due for release by the end of the year: Company of Heroes 2, Metro: Last Light and South Park: The Stick of Truth.
According to THQ president Jason Rubin, the reasoning behind the delay is one of a concern over quality. '[The games] were all challenged and were guaranteed to fall significantly short of their design specs if they were forced to make their announced release schedules,
' Rubin told investors and press during the company's Q2 earnings call. 'Additionally, in light of the aforementioned marketplace changes, even if completed, it would not have had the extra time dedicated to the polish needed to make them shine in this competitive environment.
The delays to the titles, described by Rubin as 'almost de minimis by game industry standards
' puts South Park outside the company's current financial year - not great news when the call also announced a net loss of $12.1 million for the quarter. The reason behind the poor performance, the company claims, is the cost of developing its ill-received uDraw accessory and a poor commercial performance from its latest title. 'Darksiders 2 did not perform to our expectations or live up to its generally favourable reception,
' Rubin explained. 'Observing this and other recent industry releases, one is left with a firm understanding that in the current marketplace, only the absolute top tier of releases is making impact on the game consumer.
The new schedule will see Company of Heroes 2 and Metro: Last Light shifted to March 2013, while South Park: The Stick of Truth moves from March to some time in the 2014 financial year - likely towards the end of the second-half of 2013.
Despite the massive loss and product delays, Rubin was keen to talk up his company's efforts during the call. 'Metro: Last Light should set standards for PC graphics and atmosphere. The title not only takes advantage of the latest DX11 tricks, the developer, 4A Games, manages to bring a good deal of this graphic fidelity to the consoles as well.
' he claimed in conclusion.
The company isn't out of the woods yet, however: chief executive officer Brian Farrell warned analysts that the move means THQ needs to find additional capital in order to meet operating expenses, and faces $100 million in convertible notes - essentially IOUs that can be converted into stock or, if the company is ailing, cashed out - due for collection in less than two years.