THQ Dives Headlong Into Casual Games Market

THQ took a giant step further into the casual gaming market today by buying one game publisher and signing an agreement with another.

THQ, maker of “WWE Smackdown,” among others, bought Minnesota-based Elephant Entertainment for an undisclosed sum. THQ plans to release 20 new games this year under the Elephant brand, and will organise the unit within ValuSoft, its own casual gaming division.

Per a separate agreement, THQ will use Elephant to distribute games from NYC-based Oberon Media, including “Dream Day,” to major gaming platforms.

The move into casual games isn’t surprising — last year the worldwide casual gaming market was $2.25 billion, and growing fast. Nintendo’s Wii is the most popular video game system in America and many of its titles fall under into the casual game category.

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