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TheStreet Open House

Get the Jump on Game Stocks With Virtual Market

SAN FRANCISCO -- In August, a traditionally slow month for the video-game industry, hardcore gamers and analysts found themselves at loggerheads over an upcoming title: BioShock, made by Take-Two Interactive (TTWO).

BioShock, the analysts said, was too dark and complex to catch the attention of a wider audience. They estimated it would sell 1 million to 1.5 million copies six months after its Aug. 21 release -- and a few more thousand before the end of the game's lifetime.

But The simExchange , an online "stock market" where gamers buy and sell virtual shares of a game or console based on how well they expect it to perform in real life, had a more bullish outlook.

The exchange anticipated sales of 3.2 million copies of the game for Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) Xbox 360 console and 980,000 copies for PCs over the game's lifetime. The outlook was generated from the site's 7,500 registered users -- about 2,000 of whom have placed at least one trade in the last month.

Had investors been keyed into the simExchange's results, they could've reaped a tidy profit.

The positive buzz surrounding BioShock led shares of Take-Two up nearly 15% in the week of the game's release.

And three weeks after the game's debut, Take-Two has already shipped 1.5 million copies onto retail shelves.

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