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THQ Refocuses - Open Letter

NeoGAF has a lengthy letter sent anonymously overnight to the THQ Board of Directors, and signed by "The Formerly Mismanaged," who claim to be a group of "Current and Ex-Employees, Shareholders, and The Public" (thanks Strategy Informer). The letter attempts "to explain to outsiders how this beaten-down company has wound up in this position, laying blame for sharp declines to the company's stock price at the feet of CEO Brian Farrell, and calling other executives to task by name for failures to live up to their seven-figure salaries. On a related, though perhaps coincidental note, THQ announces a realignment whereby it is "exiting its relationships with kidsí licensed entertainment companies but will continue to sell certain previously released titles." Going forward, word is: "The company will continue to build its strong portfolio of core game franchises and align its resources to deliver games on both existing consoles and new and emerging platforms. The company intends to accelerate digital revenues by extending and supporting key console launches, and to create dedicated digital properties for emerging platforms." Here's a portion of the open letter:

THQ had been known through the years for having a formula. They find a hot license, make a cheap game, barely advertise it, and make money. This formula worked during the Playstation and Xbox and Gameboy days and made the company a lot of cash. Unfortunately, THQís old guard executives seem to be stuck trying to manage the company the same way they did back then and havenít realized the industry has changed.

The beginning of the end came years ago as Brian Farrell lead an executive team to acquire a large number of studios. A large amount of cash was used in the acquisition or setup of game developers with different degrees of talent. The problem was they were bought without strategic reasoning or specific plan on to use them. So after awhile another large amount of money was spent as those studios failed and were sold off and shut down. The executive team at the time were an entirely different group of people with one key exception in the CEO. The CEO/the then executive team wasted the cash that the company had built up with these massive investments and selloffs.

The studio purchase errors were not helped by the mistakes in the licensing deals that were signed by the same CEO. Millions and millions of dollars were wasted on acquiring licenses at the same time the kids, family, casual business was declining at a rapid rate. Instead of slowing those acquisitions he overpaid for more of them until again cash was wasted in paying for brands that didnít sell well anymore.

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