Video game publisher THQ Inc. widened its net loss in the third quarter, hurt by weak sales of its uDraw game tablet and casual gaming titles.

Senior management of the Agoura Hills-based company said in a conference call on Feb. 2 with analysts that THQ would transform into a smaller, leaner operation focused on core game titles with accompanying online digital content.

The company is planning to cut expenses by letting 240 employees go in the coming months at a cost of about $11 million. This follows layoffs of 30 employees in December after disappointing sales of the uDraw platform.

THQ President and CEO Brian Farrell said the core game strategy should send a strong message of commitment to game developers.

“In this most recent (staff) reduction there was very, very few in the development organization and the studios were unaffected,” Farrell said during the call.

For the third quarter ending Dec. 31, THQ reported a net loss of $55.9 million, or $0.82 per diluted share on revenues of $305.5 million. For the same period in 2010, the company had a net loss of $15 million, or $0.22 per diluted share, on revenues of $314.6 million.

The company issued revenue guidance of $130 million to $150 million for the upcoming fourth quarter, ending March 31. For the full fiscal year, the company forecast sales between $800 million and $820 million.

Mark Madler