Shares of Turtle Beach Corp. (NASDAQ:HEAR) rose a heart-pounding 687.5% in 2018, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Those fantastic gains were built on the sudden emergence of two specific games last year, both in the red-hot genre of "battle royale" gaming. Communicating with your teammates is an important part of this experience, and Turtle Beach makes high-quality headsets equipped with microphones. Hence, the storied computer audio company enjoyed a drastic surge in popularity and sales thanks to the disruptive success of battle royale games.
The business impact from the leading battle royale games, Fortnite and Player Unknown's Battlegrounds, started in April and launched skyward in a hurry. The company reported stunning results in the first and second quarters, and investors caught on right away. Sales doubled year over year in both of those reporting periods, while respectable earnings replaced each year-ago period's bottom-line losses. By Aug. 1, Turtle Beach shares had posted an eye-popping 4,600% return in four short months.
Turtle Beach has used the battle royale windfalls to pay down all of its debts, which had been amended as recently as March in order to keep the company afloat. The company also regained compliance with Nasdaq's listing rules in an organic manner, having resorted to a 1-for-4 reverse stock split in April -- just before the battle royale phenomenon started paying dividends.
The market cap of this stock now stands at roughly $230 million. That's not too shabby for a company whose market value cratered to less than $6 million one year ago. But I wouldn't exactly bet the farm on Turtle Beach today. There's no telling how long the battle royale trend will last, and the target market for that genre may have bought most of the gaming headsets they'll ever need already. Those delisting notices may very well come back when all is said and done. I'm more than happy to stay on the sidelines with a thumbs-down rating on this stock in our Motley Fool CAPS tracking system.