Video game publisher

Take-Two Interactive

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blasted through previous earnings forecasts, reporting a profit and raising guidance for its fiscal third quarter.

Net income soared to $4.8 million, or 12 cents a diluted share, compared to a net loss of $665,000, or loss of 2 cents, in the same period last year. Net sales soared 51% year over year to $122.5 million from $81.3 million.

The company was expected to earn 7 cents a share on revenue of $101.3 million, according to a survey of analysts conducted by Thomson Financial/First Call.

It's yet another indication that the gaming industry is well into a banner year as it heads into the holiday shopping season. For the first time in the current generation of video game console technology, all three major contenders will jostle for shelf space at the same time. Take-Two's growth this year is on par with similar strong performance experienced by

leading game company

Electronic Arts

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, and by

No. 2

Activision

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.

In a conference call with analysts this morning, the company credited the good fortunes to continued strong sales of "Grand Theft Auto 3" and other titles.

Looking forward, the company raised its guidance for the full fiscal year to $755 million in revenue and earnings of $1.73 per diluted share. In the prior quarter it estimated it would achieve $733 million in net sales and $1.68 earnings per share. For fiscal year 2003, it expects to reach net sales of $830 million and $1.95 in earnings per share. In the fiscal 2003 first quarter, it expects to reach $295 million in revenue and earnings of 94 cents per share.

In one disappointing note for investors, the company declined to discuss any details of an ongoing investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission.