Humble Bundle, Inc. has been providing an incredible service to gamers and charities since early 2010, selling a variety of indie games in a name-your-price style sale and getting developers and charities some helpful exposure. The company’s work speaks for itself — Child’s Play alone has already raised over $2.1 million this year, in no small part due to the wild success of each Humble Bundle. Their newest bundle, however, is the first to incorporate “AAA” games into the fold, specifically from a big name publisher. But why, you might ask, is this a THQ bundle as opposed to an EA or Epic bundle?
…well, because THQ is kind of screwed.
THQ’s financial woes have more-or-less coincided with the rise in free-to-play and mobile games, as well as the rise of digital sales. Being a mid-sized publisher, THQ was in a tough spot for the changes we have seen this generation. After the company’s massive cleansing in 2008 and 2009, THQ completely changed their approach to their game release structure, establishing the position they are in now. Their huge risk in the uDraw Game Tablet platform was the last straw for whatever strength the company had left, as they went largely unsold and are likely next-in-line to be buried aside Atari’s E.T. in New Mexico. Along with these missteps, poor-selling software and a strategy that isn’t necessarily adapting to the market are quickly leaving THQ in the dust.
THQ, Inc. was trading at around $30.00 a share in 2008. They are currently at $1.16 a share. What other possibilities did they have of trying to salvage their company? After defaulting on a $50 million dollar loan from Wells Fargo, there was no other choice but to try and establish a bundle.
The games included are (mostly) great properties, and likely indicative of the last wave of franchises we see from the middling publisher. After the commercial reception of Darksiders 2 was lower than it had been expected to be, it seems as though the only cash influx THQ can muster would be the sale of its properties and studios, at least until (and if) Saints Row 4 releases under the company’s label. The UFC license is gone, and the lack of growth or new studios is no good indicator of things to come.
I appreciate that THQ and the group behind Humble Bundle were willing to do this, if for no reason other than it gets some great properties out there (and a mediocre one) while contributing to charity. But this is no good sign for the future of THQ. I’m hoping they can make it out of this, but I also can’t help but feel as if donating to them is like giving to charity too.
…yeah, THQ is definitely screwed.