THQ Had Been Losing Money on UFC

Posted June 8th, 2012 at 5:30 pm

EA Sports picking up the UFC license from THQ was arguably the single biggest surprise announcement to come out of E3 this year. It’s been widely recognized for some time now that THQ as a company is in dire straits and – like Take Two and their handling of sports – they have a desire to get out from under the significant costs inherent in licenses. Still a transfer of the license would have been seen as a long shot particularly considering the disdain shown towards EA in the past by Dana White. 

According to Gamasutra the primary reason THQ decided to sell off the license was because they were losing money on the deal. Apparently UFC Undisputed 3 would have had to sell two million copies just to break even and it fell well short of that mark.

The expectation of two million copies – and more if they actually wanted profitability – was an unreasonable one. While the series debut with UFC 09 exploded onto the scene with over a million copies in its first month alone the follow-up one year later with UFC 2010 saw a massive drop to just 414K copies its first month. Even after spacing out the releases by letting nearly two years pass UFC Undisputed 3’s prospects for achieving significant growth were grim. In fact it slipped even further only drawing about 340K copies its first month.

The tremendous success of UFC 09 just wasn’t going to be recreated no matter the circumstances and ultimately the company was unable to recover. EA believes they can leverage their own brand and the popularity of the UFC much better. It’ll be some time before that is proven true or to be wishful thinking based on a consumer base that shrunk for THQ by a staggering 70% in the four years they handled the UFC license.

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  • Lorre

    UFC was following THq down the toilet. At least its got a real chance with EA.

    • The Kid

      UFC Undisputed was better then EA”s MMA.  I don’t see EA doing much with the UFC liscense.  They may do like Fight Night & drop every two years or so though.

  • Dymez

    THQ was a huge part of my childhood gaming experiences. It’s a shame to see them struggling this bad, but with Jason Rubin as the Head now, they should see light at the end of the tunnel. As far as UFC, it’s better off with EA. Fight Night ain’t selling no more either, so they can both use each other.

    • Holeden

      lol jason rubin is calling the companys one big seller saints row “embarrassing”. he’s just there to see them into a sale or bankruptcy.

  • Clintbeastwoods

    UFC 3 is actually a very good game! EA mma on the other hand was a total disaster it is a real fucking shame that ea gets its greedy hands on another great game that they will no doubt water down and destroy!

    • JayNoc

      You are speaking from the hate you feel for EA Sports. EA MMA wasn’t that bad, but it was also their first try at an MMA Video Game. It’s better that EA has the over THQ since they have obviously have the money, resources and marketing. 

  • Jeff

    Well I liked EA MMA better than UFC 2010. UFC 3 is a more complete game though.

  • BCKixAzz

    Sucks when these leagues/companies want too damn much money for their license (UFC, MLB, NCAA).   It just hurts us gamers in the end.

  • Def

    Why no NHL 13 vids ???  PASTA

  • gamingbus

    That’s just poor management – as usual – by THQ. They allowed themselves to be taken for a ride, and that’s what they got. If you have to be the best selling game for months just to be able to break even, you’re screwed. Let’s also not forget that EA is going to make a profit off of this by marketing the hell out of it, and bleeding its gamers to death via DLC and subscription incentives. Everyone who’s excited about this is going to be bitching when EA MMA 2 comes out.

  • SmashMan

    I assume we’re going to be hearing the same thing in regards to the WWE license in the next few months, especially if THQ is focusing less on licensed properties and more on their own IP. The WWE license can’t be cheap, and I doubt they’re selling enough to really make it worthwhile.

  • Kind of a shame. I was a big fan of EA MMA, but I really enjoyed UFC 3 as well.