Big game hunting
Two companies with hot titles for Xbox.
By Devin Leonard

(FORTUNE Magazine) – Take-Two Interactive Software sucked most of the air out of last year's holiday videogame buying season, selling more than five million copies of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. But there's no full-fledged Grand Theft Auto sequel for PS2 or Xbox this Christmas season, which has created an opportunity for Take-Two's rivals. Banc of America securities analyst Gary Cooper believes Activision (ATVI, $20) will be the biggest beneficiary because the game publisher has two promis-ing entries--Gun and True Crimes: New York City. In an August report, Cooper cited those games as part of the reason he expected Activision stock to rise to $28. Other analysts are placing slightly riskier bets on Saint's Row from THQ (THQI, $20). Saint's Row may look like just another GTA clone, but it's the only wannabe developed specially for the Xbox 360, Microsoft's new console, which hits stores on Nov. 22. Analysts expect Microsoft to sell as many as seven million units within a year. Most of the buyers will be hard-core gamers who like the edgy charms of Grand Theft Auto. "It's the right game at the right place at the right time," says Doc Horn, an analyst at Fulcrum Global Partners. His firm has a buy on THQ, with a target price of $26. He says Saint's Row could be a "franchise title" if it sells 250,000 copies. Michael Pachter of Wedbush Morgan is even more bullish: "They have a good chance of selling 400,000 to 500,000." -- Devin Leonard