2012: The Year of Gaming Woes
Special to CNBC.com
That didn't help shares noticeably, though, and now THQ has announced a reverse stock split to remain on the exchange.
That takes care of one problem, but investors still worry that the company has yet to show any upcoming games that will be real breakout hits. Without those, THQ's troubles could be far from over.
Sony's Vita Stumble
Sony's Vita Stumble:
The launch of the Nintendo 3DS in 2011 got off to such a rocky start that the company was forced to cut prices almost immediately to lure buyers. That strategy worked — and many observers thought would reconsider the $250-$300 launch price of the PS Vita handheld gaming system as its February U.S. launch date drew near.
But it didn't — and the Vita has had a hard time finding traction at retail. It's not entirely a matter of price, of course. The launch lineup of games didn't fare well with critics. And Apple's iPhone has claimed a big share of the portable market.
What's surprising is how the Vita has failed to rebound. Worldwide sales as of mid-May are a so-so 1.8 million units, but in Japan (where handheld gaming is even more popular than the U.S.), the Vita continues to hit record low sales numbers.
Zynga's Rocky Road
Zynga's Rocky Road:
Zynga shares got off to a slow start when they began trading in late 2011, but by February and March, things were looking up, with the stock closing in on $15. Since then, a combination of factors has sent it spiraling.
Investors questioned the wisdom of the company's $200 million purchase of OMGPOP, maker of the iPhone hit "Draw Something" — and were even less happy when that game began to fall out of favor with fickle iGamers. Insiders also began cashing in their shares in a volume steady enough to further raise concerns.
When Facebook's IPO stumbled, though, the company really took a hit, as investors began to question the investment viability of social media. At the end of May, shares stood at an all-time low.