Gaming isn’t just fun, it’s great business. Some of the world’s most lucrative intellectual properties exist entirely or almost entirely as video games. And video games command high prices that many entertainment media cannot hope to achieve. It’s no wonder investors keep looking for the next big gaming phenomenon.
Gaming is an art, but it’s technology that pushes it forward. New ways to build, deliver, and play are letting game companies make games that were once only dreamed of. The companies that can harness this technology will be the ones to make bank in the future of gaming.
In addition to technology, the best gaming companies today are innovating in their hardware and software, business models, and support infrastructure. A good gaming company nurtures a community that will keep paying year after year. This positive mindshare should not be overlooked when choosing which gaming stocks to invest in.
Overall, a good gaming company should have good technology, a strong business model, and a loyal consumer base. Here are three gaming stocks that fit the bill and should be on any investor’s radar.
Gaming Stocks: Unity (U)
Every game needs an engine, and Unity (NYSE:U) remains one of the most popular engines on record. Unity claims that over 70% of mobile games are made with their engine. That, along with a significant fraction of traditional and Virtual Reality (VR) games, gives Unity a large revenue stream from developers who license their engine.
Unity’s dominance of the mobile market should not be understated. Mobile gaming makes up a majority of the gaming industry. Not only that, but it is also growing faster than the industry as a whole. VR games remain a speculative and minor part of the industry. But if the VR market continues to grow, Unity’s large share of that market will also help it.
A big part of Unity’s dominance comes from the network effect, something its competitors will find hard to replicate. Because so many game developers already use Unity, it has thousands of free tutorials and help spaces for developers. And because it has so many resources for developers, many developers gravitate towards it for their projects. A self-reinforcing cycle that keeps Unity on top.
Because Unity has a dominant market share in gaming’s fastest-growing market, it’s primed to grow much faster than the gaming industry as a whole.
Unity’s stock has been beaten down during the recent bear market. And for that reason, many may still see it as a highly speculative play. But the company remains in good shape financially. Unity reported 2022 revenue of $1.4 billion, a year-on-year growth of 25%. And while they had a net loss of $919 million, they have cash on hand of $1.5 billion.
Their revenue is growing by double digits. They have the cash on hand to survive in the near term with no difficulty. And in the medium term, they have room to grow into a gaming phenomenon.
Gaming has long been an expensive hobby. Consoles and gaming PCs are not cheap products. But NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) believes it has a product for the frugal gamer. NVIDIA’s GeForce Now service lets you play games through streaming without expensive equipment. It hopes to tap into a market as yet unserved by traditional gaming companies.
NVIDIA is not the only company to try streaming games. Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, GOOGL) recently shuttered its Google Stadia platform due to a lack of interest. But the Stadia largely died due to a lack of available games. Whereas GeForce Now will soon be able to play all Microsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox PC games. This ensures a broad library and is great news for the 20 million users already on GeForce Now.
Streaming games may be the future of gaming for another reason. A console or gaming computer can be heavy and hard to take from place to place. But GeForce Now can be used from your phone. More people own phones than computers and consoles combined, and this ability gives NVIDIA a wide market as yet untapped in gaming.
Even without streaming games, NVIDIA has graphics cards that power most modern gaming hardware. With streaming games, it looks set to be one of the most disruptive gaming companies of the coming decade.
Take Two (TTWO)
Take Two (NASDAQ:TTWO) is a leading video game company that could be poised for industry dominance. One of Take Two’s subsidiaries is 2K, whose business model is to release yearly installments of popular sports games. NBA 2K and WWE 2K are mainstays of the genre, and fans buy them year after year. This is a business model that few others can replicate, and it brings consistent revenue to Take Two.
Another major subsidiary of Take Two is Rockstar, makers of some of the most commercially successful games of all time. From Grand Theft Auto to Red Dead Redemption, every Rockstar title is its own mega-event. Where 2K brings consistency, Rockstar brings big gains.
Alongside this impressive portfolio, Take Two has been growing rapidly. Their revenue grew 50% year on year, according to their most recent earnings statement. In the past, Take Two has used its impressive gains to finance growth through mergers. In 2022, they bought mobile gaming giant Zynga. Take Two has shown itself to be conscious of the market it’s in, able to adapt to new trends to maintain its growth.
Overall, Take Two Interactive is a good stock to buy for investors looking to tap into the growing video game industry. Its strong portfolio of popular franchises, successful subsidiary studios, and its growth in mobile gaming means any investor should keep an eye on it.
On the date of publication, John Blankenhorn held long positions in U, NVDA, GOOGL, and MSFT. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.