News last week that Seamus Blackley, the man responsible for the original Xbox concept, had gathered together a gang of silver-haired Atari veterans to make small, innovative digital titles, raised two big questions. Firstly, can the "grizzly old farts" - as Blackley describes the group - who made Asteroids, Missile Command and Centipede possibly have anything new to say 30 years after their original flush of creativity? Secondly, considering almost all involved went on to have long and lucrative careers in the tech industry, why do they need THQ's help to release a few humble iPhone games? Especially when said publisher appears to be on the brink of financial ruin. Well, Blackley has kindly provided Eurogamer with a few answers. Regarding THQ, he explained that the publisher's marketing expertise should prove invaluable, as will the extra resources should the studio decide to release its games on platforms other than iOS or Android. "We're prototyping everything on iOS and they may well come out on iOS, but there are games that we have that could fit on all sorts of different platforms, and having a partner who can do some marketing and can scale to the other platforms is really useful," explained Blackley. However, he added that THQ's digital strategy - or lack of one, to be more accurate - also helped seal the deal. "THQ didn't really have a digital strategy and I thought that was good," he said. "The one thing that's true about these new platforms is that if you think you know what you're talking about you're just completely wrong. Anybody who says 'this is how it's going to work' is completely wrong, because the target is moving so fast. And the target is defined by whatever is coolest to play. "However you happen to pay for whatever is currently coolest to play is the darling business model of the moment, but trying to chase that from a business standpoint is really dumb. You chase it from a gameplay standpoint. And Danny [Bilson, THQ games boss] totally got that." When asked how he feels about THQ's precarious financial health, Blackley replied that he'd bet on the publisher to pull through. "The instantaneous 24/7 media we have now causes things that would just have been blips in the past to become firestorms," he explained. "I think that several publishers have been through this before. A couple of years ago EA was going to go out of business, and before that it was Vivendi in the toilet. It's all cyclical. This is particularly bad for THQ for reasons that I don't entirely understand but the idea that the management have of backing games is the right one. "Focussing on really good games is the only long-term strategy. It's only when you have a really good game that's doing really well that you employ more traditional business techniques to exploit that. Until you have that game, playing it conservatively isn't the way that you win in any hit-driven entertainment medium. Play conservatively and you slowly slide into the grave. "It's a miserable situation to be in but the guys who come out of these things are the guys who just keep fighting through and that's what THQ are doing, and I love them for it."
This old grey team has unique prespective, and its looking an awful lot like someone is slowing gathering up lower prices shares? The options foretell something might be a'comun this way (something wickedly full of profit potential)? I bet on THQI and my bet includes a buy-out possibility. Welding up the old team with some young developers and it just makes it better.
Chinese government may have boosted chinese solar producers in 2005 with $30 Billion backup . . . but they can't get their heads around droping $30 billion for Chinese game companies. USA and EU rules games period.
Last ditch THQI defense is RS and it will keep us in 'the game'. Congress doing all that twittering . . . no wonder they can't get anything done . . . better teach the dudes to learn to UDraw deficit dollars? Thats a game they can understand, me thinks. We can charge them full retail price too . . . whats a billion here and there? Wonder if THQI will includ/make some online pod/phone educational games for the bra-rats?