Rumor has it that video game publisher THQ, who in 2010 extended their exclusive deal with the UFC until 2018 to be the only publisher to make UFC games, is reportedly looking to be bought according to online sources such as GamesIndustry.biz (membership required) and industry insider Kevin Dent. There is also a thread at NeoGAF that gathers all the currently known information. One of the main reasons for these rumors is the apparent cancellation of a MMORPG that has been in development since 2007 based on the very popular Warhammer 40,000 franchise.
Here is an excerpt from the GamesIndustry piece via NeoGAF:
Sources speaking to GamesIndustry.biz have suggested Dark Millennium Online, which was first announced in 2007, is currently being offered for sale to other companies.
At least one THQ project based on a Disney licence to be released in 2014 has been given back to the media firm even though the publisher has paid an advance on the IP, according to Dent.
Industry chatter suggests THQ is looking for a sale. The company has a market cap of just over $45 million - trading in the company was at a new low on Friday of $0.65. CVs for established talent at the company are said to be increasing in the recruitment market.
THQ has released the standard non-denial denial (quoted below) that gets released when information gets out that a company doesn't want the public to know, but the writing appears to be on the wall at this point. The statement says they "haven't made any decisions" in regards to the MMO which is pretty open-ended, didn't say that they weren't seeking a buyer and just said that their WHOLE slate wasn't cancelled meaning they could have one game still set for 2014 release and be telling the truth.
THQ has not cancelled its 2014 line-up, and has not made any decisions regarding the planned MMO. As part of the ongoing review of our business, we have made decisions to ensure that the company is strategically addressing the most attractive markets. As we have previously announced, we have dramatically reduced our commitment to the kids' boxed games sector which leads to a significantly more focused release schedule moving forward. Our slate for calendar 2012 and beyond is focused on high-quality core games and continues to build our digital platform and business. We are excited for our pipeline of original and high-quality content along with our relationships with some of the best talent in the industry.
Additionally, we are thrilled with the great performance of Saints Row: The Third, which on a like for like period in North America has tripled in sell-through from Saints Row 2. In addition, WWE '12's worldwide sell-through sales are up almost 40% year-over-year for the same sales period with fewer platforms. According to NPD, for the month of December and the 2011 year, THQ was the #5 publisher overall, #4 third party, with reported sell through growing over 18% in a market that was down almost 6%. And coming up next, we have two great titles for the first half of the year including UFC Undisputed 3 and Darksiders 2.
It will be interesting to see what this means for the future of UFC video games, especially if Electronic Arts, publisher of EA Sports MMA and subject of many a Dana White tirade, is a potential buyer.
UFC Undisputed 3 is still set to release on February 14th, 2012 for PS3 and Xbox 360, and the publisher's release slate for the rest of 2012 and 2013 appears to be still on schedule.
I'll be updating this post as this story develops.