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Hold on, Cramer’s playing games, now?

Friday, 8 Nov 2013 | 6:30 PM ET
Who's got game? TTWO, ATVI or EA?
Friday, 8 Nov 2013 | 6:25 PM ET
To find the best buy, "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer pits a few game publishers against one another, including Take-Two Interactive, Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts.

(Click for video linked to a searchable transcript of this Mad Money segment)

Cramer doesn't seem like the type to play games.

But considering circumstances, he just can't help himself.

Both Microsoft and Sony will introduce new video games consoles later in the month and the excitement among gamers is almost palpable.

Cramer believes big events such as these often present opportunities for investors, but there's a caveat – you have to be shrewd.

For example, although your knee-jerk reaction may be to play the manufacturers, Cramer doesn't think that's wise. "They're both too big with too many other divisions to make their stocks bets on the new video game cycle."

Gamestop, a nationwide retailer that sells video games, has also been viewed as a good bet on the new cycle but shares are already up 120% ytd.

Instead, Cramer believes video game publishers are a better way to leverage the theme. But of course, the question is – which stock is best to buy ahead of the launch.

"First, you need to understand that these game publishers are driven by hit titles," Cramer explained. In a way, they're like movie studios—they live and die based on blockbusters."

With that in mind, here are Cramer's insights on 3 publicly traded video game publishers.

Dave Nagel | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images

Activision Blizzard

Although Cramer likes the games, with a market cap of $11.8 billion, he's not such a fan of the stock.

"Of course, Activision has a terrific crop of franchises," he said but when the company reported a couple of days ago, it issued downside guidance saying, 'The fourth quarter this year presents a unique and challenging landscape due to increased competition and uncertainties surrounding the console transition.'"

"Activision may have a great stable of hit games, but that's just not what we want to hear," said Cramer.

Electronic Arts

Again Cramer likes the games and notes that Electronic Arts licenses the extremely popular Madden NFL, but with a market cap of 7.9 billion, the stock is another issue

"The problem with EA is that, historically, their execution has been really spotty," Cramer said.

"When it reported on October 29th, management gave downside guidance for the fourth quarter, even as they raised their guidance for 2014." Not good.

Also, Cramer added the company doesn't have too many blockbuster type games coming out in the near future.

"Although I think this is a stock that will do just fine in the long-run, in the short-run, I don't think it's your best bet on the new consoles."

Take-Two Interactive

With a market cap of $1.5 billion Cramer says Take-Two is the smallest and most speculative of the three listed here, but he also believes it presents the best opportunity.

Take-Two Interactive makes Grand Theft Auto Five, the biggest hit in video game history. "It did a billion dollars in retail sales in its first three days on the market," Cramer said

"I think Grand Theft Auto Five was a game-changer for these guys. When you're the company behind the fastest selling game in history, you have a lot more leverage to demand things like greater shelf space for your other titles."

Also, "The company also has a bunch of big games coming out in the 2014 calendar year," Cramer added.

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On top of that, Cramer added that of the 3 stocks listed above, Take Two is the least expensive.

"It sells for 9 times next year's earnings when you back out the cash despite having a 12% growth rate. Activision's more expensive, trading at 12 times earnings with 7% growth. And while Electronic Arts also sells for less than its growth rate, trading at 13 times earnings with 15% long-term growth, the discount is due to their history of bad execution."


Call Cramer: 1-800-743-CNBC

Questions for Cramer? madmoney@cnbc.com

Questions, comments, suggestions for the "Mad Money" website? madcap@cnbc.com

  Price   Change %Change
MSFT
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6758.T
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GME
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ATVI
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EA
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TTWO
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