November 6, 2012 / 4:35 PM / 7 years ago

THQ shares collapse after game delays, "Darksiders" letdown

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - THQ Inc THQI.O lost almost half its market value on Tuesday after the struggling videogames publisher delayed a raft of marquee titles, warned of a growing need for new capital, and admitted its “Darksiders II” had undershot expectations.

Shares in the company, which is trimming staff and considering alternatives to try and relieve a potential capital crunch, plunged as much as 46 percent in their biggest single-day loss in years.

On Monday, executives said they were pushing back the release of key titles such as its “South Park” game that were not ready for primetime - a postponement that increases the company’s need for capital. It is weighing options and executives did not outline them nor take questions on a Monday post-earnings conference call.

The company has suspended earnings guidance and withdrawn its previous outlook for fiscal 2013.

THQ sold just 1.4 million units of action-adventure game “Darksiders” since its August launch, far short of a break-even target of 2 million. The game’s disappointment comes with Microsoft’s (MSFT.O) “Halo 4” and Activision Blizzard’s (ATVI.O) “Call of Duty: Black Ops 2,” launching this month, expected to dominate holiday sales.

THQ’s stock, suspended from after-hours trading on Monday, plunged 42 percent to $1.74 in morning trading.

Reporting By Edwin Chan; Editing by Maureen Bavdek

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