Video game publisher THQ (NASDAQ:THQI) has once again destroyed all expectations, this time with stronger sales in its second quarter. After the bell on Thursday, THQ said its year-over-year Q2 net sales climbed 48% to $142.7 million, a showing that helped the company cut its net loss to just $1.4 million, or $0.02 per share, down from a loss of $0.11 per share last year. Both figures compare favorably with previous forecasts -- both the company's (it had expected a loss of $0.07 per share on $125 million) and the analysts' (who had anticipated a loss of $0.06 per share).

As a result of the good news, the stock climbed 5.7% to $20.90 in after-hours trading.

As in the first quarter, the company's hits Destroy All Humans! and street racer Juiced continued to drive results. The company also cited strong sales of its Tak game, as well as its WWE and Scooby Doo titles.

Going forward, THQ maintained its full-year guidance for earnings of $0.67 per share on $770 million in net sales. The company also said that Q3 earnings would come in at $0.65 per share on about $320 million in sales -- roughly in line with the analysts' estimates.

At the same time, though, the company said that Q4 earnings would be a little light now that it has pushed back the release of Saint's Row, a game in development for Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) next-generation Xbox 360 console. Saint's Row -- a game in the vein of Take-Two Interactive's (NASDAQ:TTWO) Grand Theft Auto and Activision's (NASDAQ:ATVI) True Crime series, where the player has free rein to roam a large city, pilfer vehicles, blow up stuff, and earn a rep -- will now come out in THQ's next fiscal year, which begins in April.

Among the other titles THQ has in the works for the Xbox 360 include the motorcycle racing game Moto GP and World War II action shooter The Outfit, which is due in March. But unlike industry heavyweight Electronic Arts (NASDAQ:ERTS) with Madden NFL and Need for Speed, and rival Activision with Tony Hawk, THQ doesn't have a smash-hit launch title prepared for the Xbox 360.

In aggregate, THQ's outperformance in the second quarter makes up for any coming shortfall in the fourth quarter related to delayed releases. And while THQ has yet to prove that it can compete directly with the other big players in prime time (the company hasn't even really tried, adroitly introducing new brands after the holiday season), I still think THQ is the hidden treasure of the video game industry.

Electronic Arts and Activision are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations.

The Motley Fool has kicked off its ninth annual Foolanthropy campaign! Nominate your favorite charities on our Foolanthropy discussion board through Nov. 6. For guidelines on what makes a charity Foolish, visit

Fool contributor Jeff Hwang owns shares of Electronic Arts. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.