THQ Holds Onto Nick Game Licensee

In a deal reportedly worth $75 million, THQ Inc. will continue to churn out interactive titles based on such popular cartoons as SpongeBob SquarePants and The Fairly OddParents. The video game publisher has extended its long-standing master licensing agreement with cable broadcaster Nickelodeon through 2010. New Nickelodeon properties to be exploited as part of the new deal include The Barnyard, Danny Phantom and everGirl.

"Since the inception of our partnership in 1998, THQ and Nickelodeon have pioneered kids gaming, releasing six number one titles and selling through more than 20 million units worldwide,” says Leigh Anne Brodsky, president of Nickelodeon and Viacom Consumer Products. "THQ has been a great partner to date and we look forward to building our videogame business into an even more important category for Nickelodeon."

THQ and Nickelodeon first partnered for the 1998 release of Rugrats for PlayStation. Since then, the two companies have launched games based on more than 10 leading Nickelodeon brands. Through their "games first" agreement, they launched the original cross-media property Tak and the Power of Juju in October 2003 and followed it up with Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams earlier this month.

As the contract neared expiration, THQ appeared to be facing some serious competition from Midway Games, which was recently acquired by Sumner Redstone, owner of Nickelodeon’s parent company, Viacom.

THQ and Nickelodeon’s 2006 line-up will include games based on SpongeBob, OddParents, Nicktoons, Tak and Paramount/Nickelodeon Movie’s holiday 2005 theatrical release, The Barnyard Movie. THQ develops and publishes wireless content based on selected Nickelodeon properties through a separate agreement with Nick.com.