THQ touts Volition's 'Saints Row'

CHAMPAIGN — Volition's parent company, THQ Inc., this week hailed "Saints Row" as the most successful video-game franchise to which it owns intellectual property rights.

In statements made as the company released results for the quarter that ended March 31, THQ said Volition's "Saints Row" franchise has shipped more than 11 million units globally.

More than 4.25 million units of the most recent installment — "Saints Row: The Third" — have been shipped to date. The game has generated "the highest digital revenue of any console title" in THQ's history, the company said.

The company also announced that a stand-alone franchise extension — "Saints Row: The Third — Enter The Dominatrix" — is scheduled for release in September.

"The new story builds upon Saints Row's ... over-the-top action by dropping the leader of the Saints in a diabolical virtual reality and includes the most-requested gameplay features from the 'Saints Row' community," the company said in a release.

In a follow-up conference call Tuesday, CEO Brian Farrell praised the "exceptional team at Volition" and said "Enter The Dominatrix" — which will sell for $29.95 retail — will fill the gap between the third and fourth installments in the "Saints Row" franchise. No title or release date has been given for the fourth installment.

During the call, Farrell reiterated plans for Champaign-based Volition's development of the "inSANE" video-game project in collaboration with filmmaker Guillermo del Toro.

Following up on previous announcements, Farrell said THQ has exited the kids' licensed games business and is no longer manufacturing software and hardware for the uDraw GameTablet.

Now the company is concentrating on its "high-quality core franchises," he told analysts during the call.

In the earnings release, Farrell said the Agoura Hills, Calif.-based company has streamlined its product line, organization and cost structure "to support a smaller company positioned for sustained profitability."

THQ hasn't gotten there yet. During the quarter that ended March 31, the company had a net loss of $53.2 million, up from the $44.1 million net loss it had during the comparable quarter a year earlier.

For the fiscal year that ended March 31, THQ had a net loss of $239.9 million, compared with a $136.1 million net loss in the previous fiscal year.

Sales for both the quarter and the fiscal year were up from the comparable periods a year earlier.

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