THQ Exec Calls Console Wars “Totally Irrelevant”
While the enthusiast media and forum-goers everywhere make it out to be the biggest deal in the world, THQ exec Jack Sorenson claims that the ongoing console war is “totally irrelevant.” He says his company is focusing on the opportunities that platforms offer rather than their respective install base.
“I think [the console war] is totally irrelevant. Even in the history of the business, other than something like the Dreamcast, you can do decent business on lots of platforms,” he explained. “So the issue is not who wins, it’s can an independent publisher do a good business on that platform. We’re thinking everything from high-end MMO all the way to cell phones.”
While most look at the console scene and think of the current generation of consoles, don’t count out the PlayStation 2, which is still very much a viable platform thanks to its massive install base.
“There’s a ubiquity of gaming out there, and the platform is really just a medium. If that makes sense [we'll publish on] PlayStation 2 next year for something, PS2 two years from now,” he said. “We certainly probably carried on longer on the GBA than most and had a very nice business out there because there’re 80, 90 million GBAs out there – maybe a bunch left in closets and drawers, but there’s still enough audience to buy them. All these platforms kinda win.”
THQ’s CEO recently told Reuters that the company can grow without making acquisitions. Sorenson expanded on this, stating, “We’re certainly looking at acqusitions all the time.”
“[But] we’re not in any rush in any one area. When I started I think it was three studios and 150 people in development, and clearly we rushed a bit to get scale and a certain size where we can cover a lot of different bases both genre wise and on a technology and platform basis.
“And we’re there and past that, so the bar is probably a little higher in terms of what we’d look at in terms of fit, and how good they are, and what they are bringing new to the group. But I wouldn’t say there’s any one target we’re looking for right now.”
From a third party publisher’s standpoint, his assessment that the console wars are irrelevant is correct. It doesn’t make a difference to THQ which consoles are doing best so long as they exist and allow for THQ to sell games. I find myself wondering, though, if third party developers or publishers have their fingers crossed for one system to emerge as the victor, whether it be because they’ve invested more in that platform, because they’re more comfortable designing games for it, or any other reason.