Top 10 Best Games Publishers of 2016 Have Been Announced and the Winner May Surprise You

Written by Neil Soutter on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 3:25 PM
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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!

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16:49 Feb-16-2017

Sega and Microsoft in mid sized while telltale on major? These guys are not any serious at all...

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03:58 Feb-16-2017

Talk about a turnaround. They've been doing great the last few years so not really that surprised. Still, good on them :) Square Enix had a splendid 2016 I must say. Much better than what they've doing lately so..more power to them. Sony is consistent as usual. Activision Blizzard could've been higher but I digress. Ubisoft, what a turnaround for them too! It's like they traded places with EA. Anyhow, they've got a strong lineup for this year (really want to play the new Assassins Creed) and might change their rankings once again if it reflects in their quality and quantity.
Looking forward to another wonderful year filled with gaming goodness :)

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02:42 Feb-16-2017

Not surprised EA took the top, EA has really changed, EA gives out free games from time to time, EA has also published many solid games through 2016, and while yes their DLC plans still haven't changed or maybe only slightly changed, but I mean what they did to Battlefield 4, supporting it from a broken game to become the gem it is now, I say they did deserve it.

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21:24 Feb-26-2018

Boiii i have some news for you xD

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21:14 Feb-15-2017

Paradox interactive the best of the mid sized? I would've agreed with that in the past, but their practices have gone downhill so freaking fast... I really dislike their DLC policy. Hearts of Iron 4 is still a mess as well.

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21:01 Feb-15-2017

This list is quantity over quality and thus pretty much propaganda. Lets see a list of developers with the most acclaimed titles of 2016...

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05:34 Feb-16-2017

EA would still take a very high spot (if not #1) with acclaim as well. They have managed to release several massive and acclaimed titles in 2016.

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19:48 Feb-15-2017

Despite their greedy business practices, EA has published some excellent games in the past few years so I'm not too surprised.

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18:53 Feb-15-2017

i was hoping for ea to be the best so it wasn't that big of surprice for me

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17:47 Feb-15-2017

Nintendo Deserves 3rd place they supported a dead console with horrible marketing & name for 5 years and made some great games for it.


1.Smash Bros
2.Mario Kart 8
3.Donkey Kong
4.Mario 3d World
5.Yoshi Wooly World


The Switch is a great Name for their new console fits it so well. Plus the marketing is way better & they fully focusing on it to make it great.

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16:51 Feb-16-2017

Damn all these games are brilliant. I want them on the switch as i didn't get the chance to get a Wii U.

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17:18 Feb-15-2017

Microsoft Game studios above Bethesda, ummm...no.

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18:38 Feb-15-2017

Everything should be above Bethesda. Or maybe not DigiHomi.

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23:52 Feb-15-2017

What's wrong with Bethesda?

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11:24 Feb-16-2017

As a publisher they favour anti-consumer moves like day one review codes and lack of quality control in their games. Most of the Bethesda games have major problems at launch and even years later.

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17:17 Feb-17-2017

I guess I don't see the majority of those issues because I usually wait for the prices to go down. Then buy them when they are on sale. Then by the time I buy them, they have released the patches by then. My comment was more referring to Microsoft releasing a great game like halo 1, then screw PC gamers by not releasing 3-5 on PC.

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16:44 Feb-15-2017

Well, not to brag but I for one, wasnt surprised that EA was at the top or (near the top) on this list. Their releases have been the most solid overal imo in 2016 (p.s. I got no idea about the sports titles).


I expect Ubisoft to have a much higher spot in this ranking in 2017. They have a lot of big things coming this year.

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16:33 Feb-15-2017

CDPR wasn't eligible to run for a place on those lists?

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16:34 Feb-15-2017

I think their only game was Witcher 3 and that's 2015 so it wouldn't count.

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23:30 Feb-15-2017

I was making allusion to blood & wine as it won a best role playing "game" award against: WoW, Xenoblade, Deus ex & Dark souls 3.
Even thought I don't understand why they put a dlc among the award nominees.

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16:50 Feb-15-2017

Only if they counted tw3 dlc bnw

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23:31 Feb-15-2017

Seems like they didn't.

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16:27 Feb-15-2017

Ubisoft is dead last in the list lol xD.. i loved trackmania turbo though

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15:55 Feb-15-2017

Well, Titanfall 2 deserves all the love.

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