Rubin reflects on 'a sea of bad decisions' at THQ

Publishing business is not cursed by change but poor decisions, says second-in-command

The man who joined THQ with a plan to reverse its fortunes says the publisher guaranteed its own failure because of "a sea of bad decisions".


Jason Rubin, who departed from THQ last week and is now exploring new career opportunities, said it was not fair to correlate the publisher's collapse with wider structural challenges that most games companies are facing.

"I think it is incorrect to attribute THQ's predicament with overall changes in the industry," Rubin told industry publication MCV.

"All triple-A publishers have been under pressure, but THQ had every chance to survive had it not made massive mistakes."

Rubin, who was hired in May 2012 as president of the company, went on to list what he considered significant errors made by the company.

"The incredible losses attached to uDraw," he began.

"Massive wasted capital in the unpublished MMO that was cancelled, [and] sticking with children's and casual titles far after mobile and tablets had killed the business, [and] bad, late, or otherwise inferior titles like Homefront, and a generally haphazard and inefficient approach to deal making,".

Rubin's belief is that middle-tier publishers like THQ are not walking the green mile - they can still manoeuvre into profitable enterprises.

"There are certainly things to be said about challenges in the mid-tier triple-A publishing business, but I don't think that conflating it with THQ's experience is helpful," he said.

"I think that luck plays a role in success and failure, but THQ's decisions and execution were the major reason for its failure.

"It would be a cop-out to say that bad luck was the predominant force. Could Homefront have caught a nerve and sold 10 million copies? It's possible I guess, but probably not without better production.

"And it's hard to attribute a cancelled MMO to bad luck. That was simply a bad decision in a sea of bad decisions."

Elsewhere in the new feature published on MCV, Rubin reveals that he was "effectively begging" other companies to acquire Vigil during THQ's bankruptcy auction.