The video game industry hasn't done a lot to endear itself to investors in the past few years. Competition from the mobile space, player fatigue with the lack of innovation and aging console systems have resulted in slumping annual software sales since 2009.
But it has shown signs of life in the past two months. Game software sales were up 52 percent last month from a year earlier, after rising 23 percent in August, according to The NPD Group.
Analysts say that momentum could continue into the holiday season and beyond.
"Sales could also be up year-over-year in October due to the release of EA's 'Battlefield 4,' analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities said in a note. "We could see positive growth in November and December as well from two next-gen console launches."
Individual publishers have already seen big stock gains as investors get excited about the launch of new consoles. EA shares are up 72 percent this year, and Activision's have climbed 64 percent. Take-Two shares are up 52 percent.
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Compared with their stock prices in January 2008, before the slump started, Activision is the big winner, with a 32 percent gain; Take-Two is nearly even, while EA shares have fallen 56 percent.
Overall industry income in 2008 was $19.7 billion. Last year, it came in at $13.26 billion. Revenues are nearly $6.2 billion so far this year, according to NPD, with the upcoming holiday buying season expected to boost that figure significantly.
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September's spike was driven by sales of Take-Two's "Grand Theft Auto V." The game, which hit the $1 billion mark in just three days, is the highest-selling title launched in any September since NPD began tracking the industry in 1995. It also represented more than half of the month's total software sales in dollar terms.
Even more notably, rather than plunging after the initial rush, sales of "GTA V" remain strong, analysts say. That has prompted Edward Williams of BMO Capital Markets to raise revenue and EPS estimates for Take-Two.
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"We estimate the title sold approximately 17.5 million units and generated more than $800 million in revenues for Take-Two during the September quarter [more than a billion at retail]," Williams said in a note to investors.
Always a big event, a "GTA" launch is bound to skew sales numbers somewhat. Even with the push the game gave year-over-year numbers, the industry is unlikely to have positive growth in 2013 (only three months have seen sales gains).