) has dropped more than seven percent today after launching a new
Humble Bundle that includes seven of the company's most popular
games. Saint's Row: The Third, Darksiders, Metro 2033, Red
Faction: Armageddon, Company of Heroes, Company of Heroes:
Opposing Fronts and Company of Heroes: Tales of Valor are
included with the bundle, which allows consumers to pay whatever
they want for the package. Saints Row: The Third is only offered
to those who pay more than the current average of $5.69,
The bundle -- which also includes five soundtracks -- was
designed to help the Child's Play Charity, as well as the
American Red Cross. The former organization donates new game
consoles, video games and peripherals (controllers, joysticks,
etc.) to hospitals and therapy facilities worldwide. Users can
decide to donate all or a portion of their money to charity, or
simply give the money to THQ.
has published a list of the top 10 contributors, which includes
Jason Rubin, the President of THQ and the former creator of Crash
Bandicoot. Rubin donated $1,050. Turtle Rock Studios, which
created the Left 4 Dead series and is currently working on a game
for THQ, came in second place with a $1,024 donation.
The Humble Bundle claims that if users purchased all of the
games and soundtracks separately, they would spend upwards of
$190. This may be true on Steam (the service providing digital
copies for the Humble Bundle), where these games retail for a
combined total of $150. GameStop (NYSE:
) charges the same combined price for the PC versions of these
games, but the console iterations are typically cheaper.
Thus far, THQ's Humble Bundle has earned more than $2.3
million from more than 400,000 purchases. Despite the success,
investors are clearly afraid of the long-term impact this could
have on the company's bottom line.
THQ has performed horribly this year. The company concluded
the last five days with an impressive gain of 29.82 percent. But
in the last 30 days, THQ lost more than 47 percent of its value.
During the previous three months, THQ dropped 68 percent. The
company's value plummeted 77 percent over the last six
Despite these declines, nothing can compare to the
year-to-date loss of 81 percent. This literally makes THQ one of
the biggest losers of the year.
THQ was also one of the biggest losers of 2011. From January
4, 2011 to December 30, 2011, the company dropped 85 percent. And
over the last five years, THQ has lost more than 99 percent of
Most of these are troubling developments -- but the Humble
Bundle is not one of them. By using the Humble Bundle to build
buzz and awareness for
games, THQ might actually persuade consumers to buy its newer
titles, most of which are sequels.
For example, Saints Row 4 is due in 2013. The previous game
copies on Xbox 360,
on PlayStation 3 and
on PC. If all of those consumers returned for Saints Row 4, THQ
will sell about four million copies of the game.
Four million is a nice number. If THQ could increase its sales
to five million, that would be even better. But why stop there?
If THQ could continually raise the potential sales of its most
popular franchise, it should do everything in its power to make
The Humble Bundle could help THQ in this regard. Maybe it
won't be Saints Row that benefits -- but if consumers discover a
newfound love for Red Faction, Company of Heroes or any other THQ
series, the company could win big at retail.
TV networks have employed a similar strategy when they publish
old episodes online. In doing so, they could dilute DVD sales and
eliminate paid rentals. They also run the risk of diluting the
ratings they gain when the show first airs. But by publishing old
episodes online, they allow newcomers to catch up on shows they
have missed. This enables TV networks to expand the overall
viewership of each, which is essential to the survival of every
Before streaming video, Family Guy was
by DVD sales and syndication -- both of which allowed viewers to
catch up and enjoy a show they had missed.
Networks that convince viewers to watch online are typically
successful at getting them to tune in when new episodes air on
TV. Thus, shows like Modern Family and Once Upon a Time are
performing better now -- not worse -- than when they premiered.
Strong marketing campaigns and word-of-mouth praise have surely
helped. But without a way to catch up, their ratings might have
been much lower.
A similar strategy has helped the film industry as well. Few
consumers paid to see Austin Powers in theaters, but
rented it on DVD. The sequel, Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged
Me, went on to make
$206 million in theaters
-- nearly four times the amount of the original.
There is no reason why THQ cannot employ a similar strategy to
boost the popularity of its games. The Humble Bundle may not be
the ultimate solution to its problems, but it seems like a step
in the right direction.
(c) 2012 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.