Published on January 30th, 2012 | by Chris Powell1
How THQ’s rumored closing would impact OnLive
There’s been whispers spoken in the deepest, darkest corners of the internet recently. Whispers that speak of a growing financial trouble for THQ, a long-time industry leader. Talk of the publishing giant canceling its 2014 lineup and even closing its Japan office. What we do know for sure, though, is THQ is definitely cutting jobs, and that’s never a good sign of a healthy company.
We’ll know the full scope of the company’s financial problems in early February when it releases its earnings report, but until then, all we can do is speculate, and that’s fine by me. So let’s play a game of “what if?” today and assume THQ does, in fact, close down completely. Surely, its impact would be felt industry wide, but perhaps no more than at OnLive where THQ has become the cloud gaming company’s biggest ally.
No other publisher has jumped into the uncertain cloud-based waters like THQ has. The company has released many of its biggest hits on the OnLive service the same day they were released on consoles. Games like Saints Row: The Third, Red Faction: Armageddon and Homefront. That’s not all, though. THQ has also supported OnLive’s PlayPack, a subscription-based package that lets you play more than 100 games as much as you want, with some of its better titles like Borderlands, Metro 2033 and Darksiders.
So let’s say THQ announces they’re effectively closing up shop in the next few days … how would that impact OnLive? Well, THQ would first attempt to sell the company, and if that didn’t happen, they could be forced to sell off its intellectual properties to the highest bidder to pay off its debt. In either case, there’s no guarantee that the company that bought THQ or the companies that purchased the IPs would give OnLive the support THQ did when it was in business.
Most immediately, all of THQ’s PlayPack titles would likely be withdrawn from the package, which instantly makes the $10 a month subscription much less attractive. OnLive would also be forced to stop selling THQ’s library of PlayPass titles. Yep, sorry, no more offerings of Red Faction: Guerrilla or Darksiders for $5 for you.
However, for those who have already purchased games like Saints Row or Red Faction, you entered into a three-year license agreement with OnLive. What that means is you’re ensured the game will be playable for you on the service no matter if the game’s developer or publisher goes out of business. That’s one piece of good news, I suppose.
Further off, we wouldn’t see anymore THQ releases on the service. That means, goodbye Darksiders II, and who knows if we’d ever receive the infamous Warhammer: Space Marine 40,000 multiplayer add on that OnLive has been promising us for what feels like forever now. Oh, did you hear, by the way, they’ve delayed its release … again? Like, for reals.
Most importantly to OnLive, though, is losing THQ as a partner would mean OnLive would have a lot less weight throughout the industry. For a long time, THQ has been a heavy hitter in the video game industry, and by having the company in its corner, it gives OnLive legitimacy among its competitors and perspective future partners. While some could argue the weight of its impact, surely losing THQ would be a heavy blow to the still young cloud gaming company when it tries to convince the likes of EA and others to bring their library of games to the service.
While I wouldn’t go so far to say that THQ’s demise would Avada Kedrava (that means kill for you Muggle folk) OnLive, I do think it would impact the company more than you might initially think. It would also answer a lot of questions people have about cloud gaming technology … one of those being, “If the companies go out of business, what happens to my games?”
I hope you enjoyed our trip down “What If? Avenue” and didn’t take it too seriously. I do think it brings up some interesting questions, though. Let us know what you think!