THQ Loses Millions, Will Fire Hundreds

Publisher THQ was hit hard during its third quarter, losing $191.8 million over the holidays. That loss, previously expected to be net profit, and more lowered expectations will translate to massive cuts to its workforce.

THQ announced plans to layoff approximately 600 employees, a staggering 24% of its total workforce, as part of a plan to cut costs by $220 million in its fiscal 2010. The publisher will also cut additional projects and intends to reduce sales, marketing and corporate expenses globally through headcount and other cost reductions.

The publisher laid off 100 employees from its mobile division last week. It previously announced plans to reduce headcount by 250 after a similarly disappointing previous quarter, shedding studios and canceling in-development games.

"This is one of the most challenging holiday retail environments I have experienced in my 18 years at THQ," said CEO Brian Farrell during a conference call, lamenting a tough retail situation. Farrell reminded analysts of the industry's growth in 2008, noting "clearly, we did not participate in that growth"

THQ saw net sales of $357.3 million for the quarter ending December 31, 2008, a drop from the $509.6 million it brought in from the quarter the year prior. It pointed to titles WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009, Saints Row 2, Big Beach Sports and de Blob as product highlights.

THQ said it expects fourth quarter results to be significantly below its previous expectations.