Why THQ's New Controversial Game Could Be The GTA Killer

| About: THQ, Inc. (THQIQ)

'Saints Row: The Third' takes controversy to a new level. Whether it's beating up homeless people with purple dildos or ordering an airstrike on a group of gang members, one thing is clear, there has never been a video game as outrageous as Saints Row: The Third. As the Grand Theft Auto series has shown us, controversy can mean big bucks and THQ's (THQI) Saints Row: The Third has upped the ante on controversy.

Everybody knows how big the GTA series is. GTA IV sold about 6 million copies in its first week, amounting to 500 million dollars in revenue. As of September 2011, the game had sold over 22 million copies. In other words, huge profits for Take-Two Interactive Software (NASDAQ:TTWO). To put things into perspective of just how big GTA is for TTWO, TTWO announced on October 28 that a trailer for the game will be released on November 2 and the stock has since risen from $14.39 to $16.21.

One game doesn't make a company, but it sure helps. THQ Inc. is badly in need of a profitable game. The company has been on a steep decline since it went down 26% in one day after Homefront received mixed reviews. Since then it went down all the way to $1.53 and has since rebounded to $2.24 as earnings approaches.

Here's why I think Saints Row: The Third will be that huge hit THQI desperately needs.

  1. Timing. The timing of this release is perfect. Grand Theft Auto 5 isn't likely to come out until late 2012 and that bodes well for Saints Row as GTA enthusiasts will likely 'settle' for this game. Saints Row 2 was released right after GTA IV, meaning that they were in direct competition at the time. That's not the case this time around.
  2. 'GTA Killer'. I noticed some youtube users were commenting on the gameplay trailer and they used this phrase. The gameplay trailer can be seen here. Just the fact that this sentiment exists is worrying for TTWO.
  3. Controversial. We all know what we loved about GTA. It was the freedom the game gave you in its open world. That freedom to do whatever you wanted caused controversy. After watching the above gameplay trailer, I think it's clear that this game gives you even more freedom.

As I said, one game doesn't make a company, but it could be enough to get THQI's share price jump-started (excuse the pun). If Saints Row: The Third really is the 'GTA Killer,' then the sky is the limit for this little company.

Disclosure: I am long THQI.