Sunday, January 6, 2013

Survival Tactix: For the Love of the Gamer....

EA Games' slogan for many years was "Challenge Everything." In the course of the past couple of months, THQ, the company responsible for crafting the popular WWE video games "RAW vs. SMACKDOWN", has filed for bankruptcy. This poses a very special challenge for WWE and is, no pun intended, a game changer for the history of their franchise. Could WWE 13 BE the final installment of the WWE video gaming marketplace? Obviously, the answer HAS to be NO. By the same token, however, there are a couple of details behind the contract and the circumstances surrounding WWE's agreement with the now defunct THQ.

FIRST, shareholders who have vested interest in the company itself CANNOT agree as to HOW best to liquidate their holdings. Meaning, do they sell the entire company in a straight cash trade? Do they strip down all the licenses they now currently hold rights to and THEN sell off the platform upon which they have built their empire? The presiding judge over the liquidation of assets has blocked one sale of the company as a whole, but there are other interested parties who would love to procure rights to the varying licenses and trademarks THQ has in their portfolios. Among them are Saint's Row, Darksiders, WWE and South Park. One potential buyer, Warner Brothers Entertainment, who have ties with Rocksteady Games (Batman:Arkham Asylum series), may be interested in the WWE franchise, but there is much at stake in buying from those portfolios.

SECOND, reports indicate that THQ is STILL committed contractually to pay WWE 45 million dollars for the completion of the current title AND for them to FINISH working on WWE 14, which has a one year launch date. Since THQ has filed for bankruptcy, does that mean it frees them of those commitments? That remains to be seen, but one thing IS for sure, WWE isn't taking the situation lightly.

SO....what does this mean for TNA? It means, of course, that TNA needs to do their shopping for a publisher NOW. Since WWE is SEVERELY entrenched in trying to procure a deal that buys them some much needed time AFTER WWE 14, TNA needs to get out INTO the market and get their name out there just to see how much value they have. IF there are interested parties LIKE Warner, who could pass the game design and such along to their subsidiaries like Rocksteady, TNA could be in business.

The running belief as of now, is that WWE WANTS EA Games to continue where THQ left off and put out a game for them that sells as well as their other sports games like MMA. What pairs WWE with UFC is that BOTH used THQ for the production of their respective games and, while UFC has crossbranded themselves to EA Games as well, allowing some of their fighters to appear in UFC AND MMA, WWE has not.

TNA, meanwhile, HAS been putting together a game design and plan to pitch to the various organizations around the video gaming market. Here's hoping they can put together a responsive and polished product that eclipses their first effort.

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