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THQ CEO gives Red Faction: Guerrilla launch a B; promises to do better next time

Though "pleased" on the game's sell-through, THQ CEO Brian Farrell told a conference call on Tuesday, "I'd give us a B on the launch of Red Faction: Guerrilla." So, with a strong quarter – mostly driven by sales of its UFC game but also owing in part to RF:G – what did Farrell think THQ could do better for "the next iteration"? (What? You didn't think that was it, did you?). Farrell said, "We've shipped more than one million units of this title to date" and reported that "the game was a top 10 best seller in the US and UK in June" but admitted that THQ could have done a better job "creating day one demand."

"We moved the title a couple times, that doesn't help," Farrell confessed. "I'm very pleased with a lot of the strides we've made recently but that doesn't mean we can't do some things better." Sounds like a refreshingly honest assessment to us in the press and, we imagine, to the hundreds of thousands of gamers out there who picked up the game on incredibly strong word of mouth. Farrell acknowledges as much, saying, "The amount it's been dropping off, week after week, has been something that would indicate good word of mouth on the game based on the high Metacritic ratings." Sure enough, at "85" it ranks fifth for recent releases.

To make up for those ostensibly not-as-good-as-they-could've-been day one sales, THQ is looking to "drive future sales of Red Faction: Guerrilla with continued advertising support and new downloadable content," Farrell said. " We hope Red Faction has a long tail on it as we move into the holiday season." Downloadable content – which THQ has used to great effect with Saint's Row 2 – is about more than just revenue, Farrell says. "When we look at DLC, the revenue, it's not that great. It's good, but we also like the fact that it keeps the customers engaged with our games for a long period of time."

Of course, this reduces trade-in and used game sales, he explains, but it also helps "keep that brand active with consumers." Which is precisely what they'll have to do if they want to keep sales up in the increasingly spartan (and sans Spartans) but nevertheless competitive holiday shopping season.

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