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THQ says its financial woes are uDraw’s fault

Sections: Consoles, Controllers, Developers, Game-Companies, Gaming News, Gear, PS3, Publishers, Wii, Xbox-360

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All is not well for THQ. The company is sinking and flailing, due to debts and losses, and it’s responding by cutting back on jobs, pay and the kinds of games it’ll make. Now, it’s CEO Brian Farrell is saying that a big part of its problems is because people didn’t like the uDraw GameTablet. Because it didn’t sell after being ported to the PS3 and Xbox 360 and interest in the Wii version faltered, the company lost oodles of money.

You’re probably wondering exactly how much uDraw cost THQ. Let’s start with its operating loss for the year, which is about $54.6 million. The uDraw is responsible for over $30 million of that. In addition, THQ didn’t move as many uDraws as it made. Stores bought 1 million copies, which tended not to sell. The company has around 1.4 million uDraw GameTablets and games that haven’t been sold or shipped out, which would potentially be worth an additional $100 million. Supposedly the unsold merchandise is going to eventually make it to stores, but THQ likely won’t get the $100 million it expected.

Personally, I can’t see any credible video game developer or publisher looking at the uDraw and seeing a console peripheral that would not only succeed, but also as something that would expand in the future. I think it’s initial success with the Wii was a fluke as parents or grandparents picked it up thinking it would be something kids would want. It didn’t have enough interesting software to back it up and the move to bring it to the PS3 and Xbox 360, which primarily cater to older audiences and more serious gamers, was a fatal mistake. Maybe if THQ had gotten other developers and publishers on board for games, things would have been different.

If you really want a uDraw GameTablet, then I’d recommend waiting. The retail prices for this thing was $69.99 on the Wii and $79.99 on the PS3 and Xbox 360 originally, but now it’s relatively easy to find it for around $45. Wait a little longer and I predict it’ll be like the DJ Hero bundles – available for under $30. I bet Goodwill will eventually even start getting copies of it and selling the bundles for under $20! THQ has stopped making the tablets and games, but I’m sure we’ll still see them around the bargain bins for another year or two.

Read [Gamasutra] Site []

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