THQ’s third quarter financial results, which were released earlier today, yielded some news that might make investors concerned about the publisher’s near-term health. Three major titles slated for January – March 2013 have been delayed. These include Company of Heroes 2 (previously on schedule for January 2013), Metro: Last Light (targeted for February 2013) and South Park: The Stick of Truth (which had an announced launch date of March 5, 2012).
Company of Heroes 2 and Metro: Last Light are now planned for March 2013, which is the final month of the company’s fiscal year. South Park: The Stick of Truth has been delayed past the close of fiscal year 2013 and is tentatively scheduled for sometime between April and June of next year. This is a huge blow to revenue projections, and the publisher is now seeking outside investment to improve liquidity and ensure their “ability to bring the best possible games to market during the most advantageous release windows.” The implication is that without funding from external sources the company won’t be able to remain liquid or be able to deliver the games in the polished fashion that senior management claims the delays are meant to ensure.
The one piece of news that came through better than expected is that the stock didn’t fall quite as much as THQ had prepared investors for. That’s probably good, because their estimates were that value was going to drop by $3.50 to $4.50. Bear in mind that the THQ stock price immediately following the reverse split was $5.09. The actual loss was $1.76, or approximately 35%. While it’s far better than the 68% – 88% predicted, the corks should probably stay firmly in the champagne bottles.
Make no mistake, the situation is absolutely dire for THQ. The performance has been miserable, and the delays of these enormous titles meant to continue the publisher on the road to recovery are now significantly delayed. South Park won’t even impact the current fiscal year, and as loyal a following as the other two have, March releases mean very little time for sales to impact end of year figures.