Skip to main content

THQ Rumored To Be Laying-Off 170 Employees [Updated]

 

THQ appears to be 0-2 in the good news department this week since after their current NASDAQ issues word has surfaced that the company is about to lay off 170 employees.  Industry centric gamers should be familiar with the previous culling THQ has done last year and the years before, all of which were sadly substantial and resulted in studios being closed or halved in size.

A large scale round of lay-offs haven’t occurred at THQ since late last Summer, but now it appears that the company is doing something on a large scale – either as an attempt to save money or as a first step in eventually calling it a day.  The news of THQ’s latest crop of lay-offs comes via industry insider Kevin Dent, the same chap that started the initial talk that THQ cancelled their 2014 software line-up and were looking for overseas investors to keep the company liquid. 

Based on Kevin’s previous rumors, some of which have been confirmed as real, and this new tidbit some people may think Kevin has it out for THQ but that’s honestly not the case.  While THQ has yet to release a public announcement confirming the lay-offs, the news was vaguely confirmed by THQ Tech VP Mark DeLoura who responded to a Tweet of Dent in a rather sly way.

With Mark DeLoura supposedly being one of the folks being laid-off, it seems like THQ is doing its next round of major trimming.  In December around thirty people were let go, some of whom were part of the team that worked on THQ’s now ill-fated uDraw device and others working in the THQ marketing department. Obviously Mark’s position is higher than that of a common developer so just how substantial are these lay-offs going to be?  

After closing several 1st party studios last year there’s not much THQ can trim on the developer side of things. With five core studios, none of which have recently shipped a game which has bombed at retail, maybe THQ is finally doing a bit of upper management cleansing.  Either that or middle-management/position people are going to find themselves in the unfortunate situation of no longer having a job due to levels of incompetence and the industry just being brutal.

As it stands now, not counting the 170 employees that may be gone, THQ has over 1400 employees. Such a number is good for a global studio, but compared to last year this time there were nearly 1700.  A three hundred person difference again isn’t terribly major but moving forward in the current position the company is in now it does bring up the question: just how much farther can they go?  I doubt THQ will close any of their key studios if the financial situation isn’t sorted out, but we could see further staff reductions come late Summer which could mirror what we saw last year with 200 employees being shown the door.

The whole situation with THQ is still very strange to an extent since we don’t know if the company is just slowly crawling to an ultimate death or if things can indeed be turned around for the better. I don’t think anyone wishes anything malicious upon THQ, but the company hasn’t done itself any favors through recent business decisions like the handling and push uDraw on the PS3/Xbox 360 received.  

Once THQ confirms the number of lay-offs or we receive more unofficial word as to the nature of them I’ll be sure to post an update.  As always my best wishes are to those affected by the lay-offs and hopefully everyone will be able to bounce back soon.

[via Eurogamer]

-UPDATE-

As expected, THQ has issued a formal statement concerning the topic of lay-offs but two unexpected developments have occurred.  It appears that the initial claims of 170 employees being let go was too low an estimate as THQ has announced that 240 employees are being let go. The exact breakdown of who was being let go wasn’t revealed, but the positions are said to be in the general and administrative fields. So for now no cutbacks have been made to developers like Volition (Saints Row) or Vigil (Darksiders 2).

THQ’s announcement of this corporate restructuring, done of course to salvage the company, is said to be done by March 31st while another round will occur by September 30th. It wasn’t verified if the general 240 number is the overarching amount of employees THQ will be letting go or if we can expect further cutbacks as the months continue.

The upper brass in THQ may still be with the company for now, but those in charge of the company are receiving their own cutbacks per say as corporate executives will receive a 50% decrease in pay.  The decrease in pay is yet another attempt by THQ to save money and further solidify the worth of the company, which at this point isn’t too great considering loan options are limited and the liquid net worth of the company is said to be below the $65 million mark.

It’s nice to see THQ try something to stay afloat but as I’ve said before, maybe I’m entering broken record mode, these efforts may be too late to make any difference.  Currently THQ is focused on providing core games (Darksiders 2, Company of Heroes), but that could possibly change if said titles underperform at retail.  

Depending on how things fair in the next two to three months it’ll be interesting to see what sort of showing THQ will have at E3, not only as far as how extravagant their booth is but what titles are shown.  THQ hasn’t openly revealed their 2013 line-up, but titles such as Insane and Devil’s Third were expected to be released, but that could possibly change if THQ opts to change their focus once more due to limited funds.

While this most recent THQ update may sound finite for now, I’m sure some other not so great news will leak in the coming weeks.