For the entertainment industry, Metacritic has always been the go-to for objective aggregation of critic ratings, an integral part of what consumers perceive to be the best movies, TV shows, music, and video games out there. Though competitors like OpenCritic have surfaced recently, the brand name of Metacritic still draws major appeal when it comes to citing quality of titles within the gaming community.
Every year, the website publishes a ranked list of the year’s top video game publishers based on a series of criteria. Specifically, the companies are judged on the average metascore for all titles published for the year, the percentage of games with “good” reviews (at least 75), percentage of bad reviews (lower than 49), and number of “great” titles with a minimum of 7 reviews (higher than 90). The first category, average score of all titles, weighs more than the others for obvious reasons.
For major publishers, which by Metacritic definition means a company with at least 12 releases for the year, Capcom leapt ahead of the competition to claim the number one spot after having placed fifth the year before. With 14 distinct titles and an average metascore of 79.3 (bolstered by the acclaimed Monster Hunter: World), Capcom led the way in 2018 and had a strong start to 2019 as well with its recent Resident Evil 2 Remake.
Mid-sized publishers saw 5-11 distinct titles for 2018 and were graded on the same scale and factors as their major counterparts. Though traditionally a large-scale publisher, Activision Blizzard took the top of this category having only launched 10 distinct titles this year. The average scores of its games were boosted by the strong pillars of Destiny 2: Forsaken and Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, though the company recently lost the former with the departure of Bungie, so it remains to be seen what its strategy heading into the new year will be.
Interestingly, bigger names expected to be major players such as Microsoft and Bethesda published relatively few titles this year. Sony, on the other hand, held the impressive title of having the most 90+ games out of any publisher in 2018, but only ranked seventh due to the high volume of its more mediocre titles. Nintendo saw another successful year at number four, having dropped from its second place of last year without its massive hits of Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey. However, polished ports and the dual guns of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Octopath Traveler kept its metascore high.
To see the full list of rankings and breakdown, check out Metacritic’s announcement here.