Strauss Zelnick, CEO of Grand Theft Auto and BioShock publisher Take-Two, has effectively said it's game over for THQ.
Speaking at the MIT Business in Gaming conference (via Joystiq), the executive said his company's focus on wholly owned intellectual property versus THQ's focus on licensed games was a key factor in their differing fortunes, as was the quality of their products.
Even if you do a great job on a licensed property, he reasoned, your margins will diminish in the long term because each time you have to renegotiate the terms of the license you'll be charged more for a brand you helped to establish and grow.
"The most important difference is quality," Zelnick said. "Take-Two has the highest quality ratings among third-party publishers, according to Metacritic and most people in the industry. Quality really, really, really matters. THQ has had some good games, but their quality levels aren't even remotely ... the quality hasn't measured up.
"Strategy didn't work and the execution was bad. To put it another way: the food was no good and the portions were small." Zelnick concluded by saying: "THQ won't be around in six months."
Harsh words, but probably true given THQ's recent financial troubles, which have led to 100s of job cuts as well as product cancellations.
Having killed off the uDraw brand in February, THQ said last month that it was cutting 118 jobs across Darksiders 2 developer Vigil and Company of Heroes maker Relic as a result of plans to switch Warhammer 40,000: Dark Millenium from an MMO to a single player and multiplayer title.