Friday, 3 February 2012

A Hard Week for THQ and Zynga (Each for Different Reasons)

 They don't have 99 problems, but the ones they have are serious enough.

I jumped the gun a couple of weeks ago when I spoke a little about THQ dropping all of its 2014 scheduled games -- something it turns out there were not doing whatsoever -- but it still appears that the company is far from in good shape.

As it stands the future of the company looks uncertain to say the least. Earlier this week NASDAQ issued a warning that if THQ can't raise its sub-par stock price within six months that it would be delisted from the stock market if it cannot manage to bolster itself and stay bolstered for at least a short period of time.

Bad goes to worse though as not even two days later the company announced that they are in the process of laying off 240 employees; so far only from "selling, general, and administrative personnel". This means that so far the gaming content employees have been spared, although if the company keeps going the way it has been then some cuts for dev teams and other key components in the actual game making process could well be next in the worst case scenario. Added onto this is the fact that the board of directors has taken a 50% pay cut. While no one might see fit to bemoan the fact that now the CEO 'only' makes $360,000 instead of $720,000 it must be kept in mind that the company heads taking such a massive hit to their own paychecks means that the company is in pretty dire straights. The scaling back could be a last ditch measure to attempt to bolster their hemorrhaging financial position.

THQ is by no means a bad company, and has some great licenses and solid franchises, but lately it just seems that they've been dealt blow after blow. In this case it seems that intervention from another, larger company might very well be the only viable way that THQ can be saved, and even then it stands to be changed at least somewhat if it ends up being subsumed by a large entity like Sony or Microsoft (assuming that either of those are even interested in such a thing).

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In a completely different matter entirely, it seems that in the past two weeks Zynga has been accused of ripping off others game ideas not once, but twice! For now both the makers of Tiny Tower and Bingo Blitz have made due by sarcastically thanking Zynga for enjoying their games to such an extent that they saw fit to steal them, but I can't help but wonder if a lawsuit might be forthcoming if more solid proof comes forth and more evidence is gathered.

This news comes after the recent levelling of a lawsuit in yet another case of game plagiarism; this time Spry Fox, makers of Triple Town, are suing 6Waves Lolapps (yes, that's the actual name) over concerns that the game Yeti Town produced by the latter is far too close in terms of content to Triple Town for it to be merely coincidence.

My dislike of Zynga for making garbage that can only be considered games in the loosest sense of the term isn't really a secret, so to me at least it doesn't come as a huge shock that they'd just outright rip off actual well designed games and put all of their time draining, soul wasting touches into them and call it a day. Personally I hope that one of these cases does end up in court, or that one day Zynga gets caught with its hand in the cookie jar by someone who wants more than simply writing a backhanded thanks to the company.

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