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Notes from THQ fiscal 2008 Q4 and year end results conference call


THQ today held its fiscal 2008 fourth quarter and year end results conference call, where CEO & President Brian J. Farrell got right to the point: "In fiscal 2008, we did not achieve our revenue and profitability goals." Ya don't say? For the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008, THQ racked up a net loss of $35.3 million, compared to the prior year's net income of $68.0 million. (Peep the full report for the complete numbers game.) Farrell waved a damning finger at Juiced, Stuntman and Conan, saying these games were "simply not competitive," and lamented spending too much on marketing for these titles, which clearly did not reach sales objectives. Farrell also noted that THQ's usually strong success in the kids market was met by greater competition this past fiscal year (or, put another way, a helluva lot more lesser competition shoveled onto Wii).

While it shouldn't be hard to introduce, as Farrell called it, a "stronger slate of products" for fiscal 2009, we're not convinced THQ's actually sitting on a strong slate of products. The forthcoming lineup is "anchored" by Saints Row 2, which will inopportunely drop in August just as GTA IV fatigue sets in, and Red Faction Guerrilla. As for original titles, Farrell highlighted de Blob for Wii and the somewhat intriguing Darksiders for Xbox 360 and PS3.

Beyond these four games, THQ's future offerings trail off into niche markets; we're talking: a "boy-friendly" WALL-E game, All Star Cheer, which will support the Wii Balance Board (sadly, you'll have to bring your own pom poms), and those pretend-to-pretend wrestling games, which still continue to do preposterously well (next up: WWE Legends of Wrestlemania). As for those still smashing their heads against walls in anticipation of THQ's first UFC entry, the wait has been pushed to fiscal 2010 first quarter (in other words, next spring). Finally, rounding out the games you'll never play are the Shanda-developed (for Asia!) Company of Heroes Online and several mobile games based on Star Wars and the new Indiana Jones flick.

Prediction of Pachter's prediction: "significantly better?" (Really, how could it get any worse?)

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