Written by Allen Caron
Gaming peripherals range from the mundane, such as a cord to connect a gaming system to a TV, to the fantastical - brightly colored headphones emblazoned with cartoon characters that deliver high-quality sound. According to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), 67% of US households play video games, spanning all ages and genders. Because of the widespread popularity of video games, many new companies are introducing gaming peripherals into their core mix of products.
As computer gaming becomes more powerful, and major video console brands prepare to release their newest generation of consoles, video game peripheral manufacturers could be well worth tracking in upcoming months.
Bellevue, WA-based Blucora Inc. (Nasdaq:BCOR) completed an acquisition of Monoprice in August of this year. In a recent Forbes article, author Jason Evangelho explained that Monoprice, an etailer known for reasonably-priced consumer electronics products, has been "steathily" entering the gaming peripheral market. Blucora owns several online companies, such as TaxACT and InfoSpace. Monoprice represents a slight deviation from the other two companies owned by Blucora, because it is an ecommerce vendor, rather than a provider of services. However, this new technology investment may help Blucora add an additional growth area to their company, while providing Monoprice with a corporate support system. BCOR closed August 30th at $20.02, down $0.12, with a market cap of $836.17 million. Its 52-week trading range is $14.05 - $22.00.
Another company in the gaming peripheral sector is Hauppauge Digital, Inc., based in Hauppauge, NY (Nasdaq:HAUP). We last covered Hauppauge when we discussed alternative forms of entertainment, such as online video. However, Hauppauge is also known for their video game recording devices, which allow consumers to record video game play sessions as videos. Their devices record in HDMI and allow for live-streaming of video game play on both computers and consoles as well. HAUP closed August 30th at $0.53, up $0.03, with a market cap of $5.47 million. Its 52-week trading range is $0.50 - $1.32.
San Diego, CA-based Mad Catz Interactive, Inc., (NYSE:MCZ) designs, manufactures, and sells accessories for video game platforms. The company's accessories are marketed under a variety of brands and include devices for both console game play as well as computer game play. The company recently unveiled a mobile gaming console, designed to bring popular mobile games to television screens. Their MOJO console is open-source and integrates with their other mobile gaming accessories. A recent article at Seeking Alpha explains how retail trends point to mobile gaming consoles as this year's "holiday hit." MCZ closed August 30th at $0.65, down $0.02, with a market cap of $41.30 million. Its 52-week trading range is $0.36 - $0.79.
Performance gaming headphone designer Skullcandy Inc. (Nasdaq:SKUL), based in Park City, UT, sells gaming headsets under their Astro Gaming brand. According to a recent article at Seeking Alpha, gaming headphones accounted for just over 10% of the company's sales in 2012. In fact, while the company saw an overall sales decrease last year, gaming headsets helped offset the decrease with a 43.8% net increase in sales. SKUL closed August 30th at $5.32, down $0.18, with a market cap of $149.34 million. Its 52-week trading range is $4.80 - $16.00.
According to the Entertainment Software Association, consumer spending on video games, hardware, and accessories in 2012 totaled $20.77 billion. Small cap companies operating in this arena could be in a good position for growth as more gamers (and gaming options, such as mobile) continue to expand this market.
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