Even though it is undergoing a transition from consoles to digital platforms, the gaming industry has racked up some substantial gains in 2017. Stocks of major gaming companies have shown double- to triple-digit gains this year. Moreover, the exchange-traded fund (ETF) industry's first fund dedicated to gaming – the ETF Managers Trust Video Game Tech ETF (GAMR) – is up by approximately 50% this year.
Research firm Goldman Sachs, which recently began coverage of the sector, stated that video game publishers are "in the middle of a renaissance." According to a report released by consulting firm PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC), global revenue from video games is expected to hit $93.2 billion by 2019. The firm estimates that global distribution for digital games will reach $12.9 billion during the same time period. (See also: Power Up Your Portfolio with Video Game Stocks.)
Here are three U.S. gaming stocks that have been on an uptrend in 2017 with gains expected to carry over into 2018. All data is as of December 22, 2017.
Activision Blizzard, Inc. (ATVI)
Shares in the maker of popular games such as "Call of Duty" and "World of Warcraft" gained 81.06% in 2017. After acquiring app games company Kings Digital, Activision Blizzard has forayed into other emerging businesses such as eSports. This should bode well for its bottom line. According to Christopher Merwin from Goldman Sachs, earnings from eSports could "far surpass" spending on established businesses such as Major League Gaming. Recent quarterly reports also show significant gains in-app purchases for the company. Additionally, it is also working on revamping content in its existing games to promote spending. (See also: Activision to Surge on New Game: Piper Jaffray.)
Trailing 12-month revenue for the firm is $6.988 billion with a one-year revenue growth rate of 41.68%. Net income and earnings per share are also higher. One-year net income growth is 8.3%. Earnings per share growth over the past year has been 7.56%.
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (TTWO)
Take-Two Interactive’s stock has a year-to-date (YTD) gain of 124% in 2017. According to Goldman Sachs, Take-Two is in a "sweet spot" for game releases. Goldman's analyst also noted Take-Two's investment in new content such as "Grand Theft Auto" and its efforts to monetize existing content such as "Red Dead." The company is also bringing existing titles to new devices, such as Nintendo Co. Ltd.’s Nintendo Switch. Take-Two's president Karl Slatoff said that the company was "intrigued" and "optimistic" about the platform. According to reports, Nintendo has sold over five million Switches so far.
Trailing 12-month revenue for the company is $1.909 billion. Over the past year, revenue has grown 25.89%. The company also has a healthy cash position of $338 million.
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA)
By most yardsticks, Electronic Arts is a pioneer in gaming. Catalysts for its growth in 2018 include its EA Sports titles and top-performing mobile games. In its second quarter 2018 earnings the company reported digital revenue of $689 million, increasing from $566 million and showing that it was advancing sales in the digital market. Over the past 12 months, the company has increased revenue by 10.21%. The stock continues to push higher with a YTD gain of 37.09%.