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THQ partners with Joyent for 'rapid prototyping and deployment' of social games


THQ and its core games VP Danny Bilson have been touting the publisher's dedication to making properties flexible across multiple mediums ("transmedia") -- for instance, Red Faction is getting a movie, a downloadable game, and a retail game (we're unceremoniously awaiting the inevitable book or comic tie-in). One area the publisher has yet to tap into with its core games IPs is social gaming, though that may no longer be the case. This morning, THQ announced a partnership with digital infrastructure company Joyent for the "rapid prototyping and deployment of online games."

We spoke with VP of online publishing and operations Mike Hogan just late last week about the partnership and what it means for THQ. Will we see Red FactionVille anytime soon on Facebook? "We have a pretty strong online strategy right now -- next week we're launching Company of Heroes Online, it's been in open beta for some time now and we've had great results on that," he told us. "If you take a look at the social applications, it is a part of what we do but it's certainly not all of it. As far as the actual games, I really can't tell you specifically what we have in development, but if you take a look at our license -- THQ has a great portfolio of licenses -- it wouldn't be too far of a stretch to think that some of those are involved."

Hogan was more black and white when discussing if the Joyent partnership is part of the transmedia approach THQ has been espousing. "Absolutely," he matter-of-factly stated. "When you look at transmedia, it includes television, it includes movies, it includes the console market -- but really think about transmedia as 'trans-platform.' So a social game is another form of media. So yeah, you're right, it absolutely is part of that trend."

According to the press release, Joyent will specifically be providing a "scalable platform" for THQ's developers to launch their own social games. The social gaming equivalent of Unreal Engine 3, if you will, though Joyent also offers a solution for publishing. Currently, Joyent provides a social gaming infrastructure for Kabam, as well as the backend for social networking site LinkedIn. It seems that we'll be hearing a lot more about them in the coming months, as Hogan says social gaming is "something that we're planning on being a big player in."

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