Publisher THQ is in a bit of a pickle at present. The company’s monumental failure with their uDraw product has resulted in massive financial issues. To put it into perspective, THQ share prices were valued at $30 not too long ago; currently, the shares are worth $0.70. Drastic action is needed in order to salvage the company, and that has resulted in them permanently dropping their children and family game labels in order to focus on core, AAA titles titles like Saints Row: The Third. I’m sure many gamers don’t have a problem with this new strategy.
THQ has just announced further employee layoffs, with those from the administrative and publishing departments receiving pink slips. None of the five internal development studios have been affected, so at present this looks like a structure shuffle for THQ itself and not its collection of dev teams.
How did this all happen? Well, a fairly insightful and venomous explanation can be found in an open letter issued to the THQ Board of Directors. The letter was penned by those THQ staff members who have lost their jobs in this recent restructuring – the ex-employees refer to themselves as “The Formerly Mismanaged”. They’re placing all of the blame on the publisher’s senior management, specifically CEO Brian Farrell.
The letter itself is rather lengthy, but the gist of it is that the reason THQ is falling apart at the financial seams is because over-paid executives have somehow kept their jobs while the company has nose-dived. The person penning the letter on behalf of the ex-THQ employees immediately identifies him or herself as an “ex-employee at THQ” as well. They also make it clear to the THQ Board that they only have themselves to blame, and that any idiot would have been able to see this financial disaster coming from a mile away:
“This Board has allowed the [sic] Brian Farrell, the CEO, the ongoing ability to take a cash-rich profitable company and drive it from a $30 share price down to around $.70 without acting despite numerous mistakes that even for those lacking business training, could see were errors.”
The letter then goes on to analyse the major executives of THQ, stating their annual salaries for 2011 and explaining just how they failed to do their jobs. Despite this, nearly all of them are sitting pretty on top of large bank balances and continued employment at the publisher. The lower employees, according to the letter, are taking the brunt of the situation and have been left “scrambling” to find jobs.
This is what the letter had to say about THQ’s Chief Executive Officer:
“Brian Farrell, CEO with a 2011 salary of $1,289,558, for a lack of business intelligence or fiscal accountability. A vocal inside group pointed out the mistake of trying to launch a year-old product [the uDraw tablet] that received almost no software support in the last 12 months. Instead of listening and having a back-up plan, he went ahead and invested a ridiculous amount of money in the manufacturing and advertising of the product and failed miserably. It is passed time for him to go. We are wondering what is taking so long for you to act. We have been wondering this same question for a long time.”
It’s a scathing account of the internal goings on of THQ for the last year. If you want to read the letter in its entirety, then you can find it where it was originally published on Kotaku.