New Releases Help Video Game Investors Stay Upbeat

Tickers in this article: ATVI EA TTWO

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Take-Two Interactive Software is poised for bullish action after the video game publisher produces its fourth-quarter results and 2014 forecast Monday, driven by strong sales of new release Bioshock Infinite and excitement surrounding Grand Theft Auto V .

The company is expected to forecast fiscal 2014 earnings of $2.26 a share on revenue of $1.78 billion, above the current fiscal 2013 earnings estimate of 18 cents a share on revenue of $1.199 billion, according to a poll of analysts by Thomson Reuters. .

Take-Two has risen more than 49% this year, despite NPD Group reporting last month that U.S. retail sales of video-game hardware, software and accessories declined 10% to $992.5 million in March from the prior year, hurt by the switching to mobile devices.

Take-Two appears positioned challenge this trend, with NPD also having reported that first-person shooter game, BioShock Infinite, topped the charts the month it was launched in March. Meanwhile, its latest series in the billion-dollar Grand Theft Auto franchise is expected to fuel solid sales and earnings growth in the years to come. Delay of this highly anticipated game featuring big heist scenes to Sept. 17 from spring 2013, closer to the holiday competition and ahead of new console releases, is not expected to damage sales.

"As the GTA V release nears, we continue to believe Take-Two's share price will increase in anticipation," Edward Woo, a senior research analyst for Ascendiant Capital Markets said in a client note. "We expect the company to have a strong fiscal-year 2014 led by GTA V."

The company should also get a boost from the extension of its license to make Major League Baseball games for another year and recent purchase of the World Wrestling Entertainment video game license from bankrupt THQ, off of which it plans to release a WWE game this holiday. Any advantage the company takes of the new console launches during the holiday shopping period should also contribute to its upside potential.

Rivals Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard released their outlooks last week. Following the announcement, Electronic Arts is now up 55% this year and garners a consensus recommendation of "hold" among analysts. Activision has risen 41% year-to-date and has an "outperform" rating, on average, from Wall Street. EA and Activision Blizzard both posted revenue increases despite the pressures on the video game industry.

EA last week gave a higher-than-consensus fiscal 2014 outlook as it continues to grow digital revenue, expand its horizons through a multi-year agreement with entertainment behemoth Walt Disney to create new Star Wars video games for consoles, PCs, tablets, mobile and more, and announced unprecedented efforts to cut costs during a console transition period.

While these expense controls are raising concerns that EA is underinvesting in its future, that's been offset by excitement over the possibility of more multi-year hits with big projects such as Star Wars. The games are expected to become a gem in the company's franchise portfolio.