The Reaper has come for THQ, but it looks like nobody wants the Reaper.

The Reaper has come for THQ, but it looks like nobody wants the Reaper.

Sorry to be a downer, but there hasn't been a lot of good news in the world of video games this past week.

THQ chopped up and sold off

The publisher which not so long ago was rivalling industry giants like EA and Activision, and which suffered one of the most shockingly rapid falls from grace in video game history, is officially no more. Shareholders blocked a risky financial deal that would have given THQ a chance to survive in some form, and last week its assets and studios were carved up like a gigantic turkey, and publishers around the world bid for the pieces.

The good news is that most of THQ's most beloved game franchises have been carried over to new homes. THQ-owned studio Relic, creator of the Dawn of War series, has gone to Sega, along with Company of Heroes 2. Koch Media, owners of Dead Island developer Deep Silver, bought game studio Volition along with their Saints Row game series, and ownership of the Metro 2033 game rights.

Crytek was already working on Homefront 2, and now own the series after paying loose change for it. Take Two, better known to most as publishing label 2K, picked up an unfinished THQ-published game called Evolve, and Ubisoft bought the THQ Montreal studio and the publishing rights for South Park: The Stick of Truth.

The big loser was Darksiders and the studio that created it, Vigil Games. While it's a popular series, Darksiders II had only just been released, meaning that a buyer would be waiting a very long time for a new game from Vigil. This has been blamed for making it an unattractive purchase, explaining why it was not bought during the auction.

There are also rumours of asset sales outside the official bankruptcy auction, primarily the lucrative WWE licence. Persistent reports are stating that 2K, well known for its NBA games, has acquired the WWE rights, but there is still no official confirmation. Publishing giant EA is also said to be interested in some properties, but again there has been no official comment to confirm this.

Overall, it was a sad, ignominious end for a once-great company. THQ will be missed.

Atari goes bust

Another video gaming giant on the rocks, with Atari filing for bankruptcy last week. Unlike THQ's rapid change of fortunes, Atari has been in a death spiral for over a decade. Atari's problems following the failure of its mid-1990s game consoles translated into a string of mergers and acquisitions, with Atari's assets and distinctive brand bought by Hasbro and then Infogrames in quick succession.

Now the creators of arcade classics including Pong, Asteroids, Tempest, Missile Command, Lunar Lander, Centipede, Breakout, and Battlezone is looking to sell off these brands in order to stay in business. Reportedly, Atari management is hoping to salvage the all-important Atari brand and take it into mobile gaming.

US politicians continue to hate on games

In an effort to blame absolutely anything other than easy availability of too many guns, politicians and gun lobbyists in the US are still calling for video game studies, bans, and restrictions.

The negative press has become so bad that a college in Oklahoma that was due to host a huge video gaming tournament for hundreds of gamers cancelled with only four days notice. When pressed for an explanation, they said that recent national tragedies had forced them to re-evaluate their participation in an event centred around violent video games. This was despite the same college hosting the event for the past four years, all of them without criminal incident.

The organisers found another venue at the last minute, but it is a sad indication of just how demonised video games have become recently in the US, despite there being no credible evidence that the Sandy Hook killer played any video games at all.

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 - James "DexX" Dominguez

twitter DexX is on Twitter: @jamesjdominguez