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THQ Sees 'Marginal' Impact From PSN Outage

THQ executive VP and CFO Paul Pucino says the extended outage of Sony's PSN service has had only a "marginal" effect on the company as a whole, and that digital revenues were more likely "deferred" than lost completely.
Speaking at the Cowen and Company Technology Media & Telecom Conference today, THQ executive VP and CFO Paul Pucino said the extended outage of Sony's PSN service has had only a "marginal" effect on the company as a whole. Though digital downloads are a growing part of the company's total sales, Pucino said there was "not a significant impact" from the shutdown of Sony's online service, which has persisted since late April. Even for titles that are largely dependent on digital sales, like the recently released digital-retail hybrid MX vs. ATV Alive, Pucino said he sees the PSN outage as more of a bump in the road. "The way I like to think about it with respect to PSN is like a deferral of revenue moreso than a loss of revenue," he said. "I think a lot of people will just have to wait before they get online and download the stuff they want." Pucino said he's looking forward to the pending announcement of new console hardware from companies like Nintendo, saying that such transitions have usually been a positive for the industry and encouraged renewed investment in software development. He responded to recent reports of reduced R&D spend on Sony's PlayStation 4 by saying such a move would "probably" make the generational transition easier for software makers, though he was reluctant to offer more without knowing specifics. Though Pucino predicts digital revenues will grow at much faster rates than the industry as a whole in the next few years, he still predicts traditional console sales will form the majority of the THQ's business through the 2014 fiscal year. However, he said he looks forward to the day when purely digital technologies such as OnLive -- and the much higher profit margins that come with them -- are more technologically feasible in this country. "That's going to work itself out at some point and we'll see a significant shift," he said. "It's a concept we like quite a bit. It's very much like the Asian model."

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