Metacritic has published data totting up all of the gaming reviews from the past year, determining which are the best publishers from the last 12 months. The data is compiled from 2016 game releases only and the results, well, the results may surprise you.

Before you check out the lists it’s worth noting Metacritic has split it up into two cateories - major publishers and mid-sized. Major publishers have published 12 or more games, mid-sized is 11 or under.

Top 10 Best Major Games Publishers of 2016

  1. Electronic Arts
  2. Square Enix
  3. Nintendo
  4. Sony
  5. XSEED Games (Marvelous USA)
  6. Capcom
  7. Activision Blizzard
  8. Bandai Namco Entertainment
  9. Telltale Games
  10. Ubisoft

Electronic Arts, the much derided ‘Worst Company of the Year’ for two years running a little while back, finds itself top of the pile. A total of 13 unique titles were published by EA, topped off by Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1. Factor in all its sports titles and EA had a formidable year, even if both Need for Speed and Mirror’s Edge Catalyst ultimately proved disappointing.

Square Enix’s recent success has been clear to see and I sort of expect them to be near the top. They keep pushing out great games at an incredible speed, including the likes of Hitman, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided and, ahem, Final Fantasy XV. Square Enix is certainly a publisher to keep an eye on these days.

Nintendo always make great games so it’s no surprise to see them make the grade at number three, although I was most surprised they published 30 unique titles. Considering the Wii U is dead in the water that’s impressive support five years on for the 3DS. If Nintendo can transfer that output to the Switch then it could be booming in 12 months time.

One last thing - I’m really not sure how Telltale Games managed to squeeze into the top 10 publishers of 206. Kudos to them but this certainly wasn’t a standout year for them. Consider as well that you need to publish at least 12 games to make it on this list, filtering out some higher quality smaller publishers, and it would be generous to say Telltale and Ubisoft deserve their places on the list.

Top 10 Best Mid-Sized Games Publishers of 2016

  1. Paradox Interactive
  2. Sega
  3. Microsoft Game Studios
  4. Take-Two Interactive
  5. Warner Bros Interactive
  6. Bethesda Softworks
  7. Team17
  8. Degica
  9. Devolver Digital
  10. Daedalic Entertainment

I’m not totally down on the logic which sees publishing giants like Bethesda, Microsoft and Take-Two sit on this list of mid-sized publishers but it is what it is.

Paradox deservedly takes the top spot for another stellar(is) year. Along with their space Civ we also got Hearts of Iron IV, Tyranny and no less than two Cities: Skylines expansions. .For SEGA it was all about Total War: Warhammer.

The surprise addition to the mid-sized list is Microsoft. The Seattle software giant published 10 unique titles which really isn’t good enough if it wants to promote the Xbox One as a unique system. The quality may be there but the quantity very much isn’t. For point of reference, Sony managed 23 unique titles, one of those (Uncharted 4) was the highest scoring game of the year.

What do you make of these lists? What would your own top 3 publishers of 2016 have been? Let us know!