It's no secret that big-name licenses sell games, but annual reports this week from THQ and Atari are putting into perspective just how much publishers depend upon the intellectual property of others.
THQ in recent years has repeatedly touted its stable of owned million-selling franchises, but those games haven't always lived up to expectations. In particular, last year's Stuntman: Ignition and Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights fell short of expectations, so much so that THQ shelved both franchises indefinitely.
Fortunately for the publisher, its licensed games have been picking up some of the resulting slack. THQ noted in its report that games based on its three biggest brands--World Wrestling Entertainment, Pixar, and Nickelodeon--accounted for 54 percent of its net sales over fiscal 2007 and fiscal 2008. The same trio accounted for 47 percent in fiscal 2006.