Hurt by a sluggish sales of its marquee videogame titles, videogame developer THQ Inc. late Tuesday reported a 75 percent plunge in fiscal third-quarter profit.

THQ reported net income of $15.5 million (23 cents per share), down from $62.1 million (91 cents) in the same period a year earlier.

The Calabasas-based company posted sales of $510 million, up 7 percent from a year earlier.

THQ, which has become a major player in the videogame world with its "Saint's Row" and WWE franchises, said it was hurt by slumping sales of two high-profile titles, something that was compounded by underperforming projects that were eventually scrapped.

THQ said it took a $27-million charge to cancel two projects, shut down a development studio and also wrote down another $20 million for games that never panned out, such as "Stuntman: Ignition," "Ratatouille" and "Conan."

THQ also said it expects a fourth-quarter loss of about 13 cents per share on sales of $200 million below Wall Street's expectations of a profit of 1 cent per share on sales of $211 million.

For the full year, the company expects a loss of about 16 cents a share on sales of $1.04 billion, also short of analysts expectations of a profit of 22 cents on sales of $1.05 billion.

"In fiscal 2009, we are well positioned for increased sales and profitability with strong owned intellectual properties such as Red Faction and Saints Row and well-known licensed franchises including WWE, UFC, Disney/Pixar and Nickelodeon," Chief Executive Brian Farrell said in a statement.

Investors seemed to share Farrell's optimism, sending shares in THQ up 2 percent to $19.90 in early trading Wednesday on the Nasdaq.

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