Game Developer magazine’s October issue features the 2nd annual report on the Top 20 game publishers. This market defining study profiles the world’s leading game publishers, analyzes the types of games the companies release and explores their relationships with external studios.
The publication enhanced the credibility of the annual report by overhauling the criteria used for ranking. Although revenue is still a key factor, this year’s survey also measured game review scores, number of titles canceled, producer quality and the catalog of original IP to determine rankings. As a result of expanding criteria, the Top 20 list had a few surprises. Japanese giants Capcom and Bandai, both featured in last year’s Top 20, have dropped out of the chart and been replaced by new entries, Codemasters and Empire Interactive, two U.K. publishers.
"We revised our survey criteria this year to better reflect for developers how publishers perform across the board," said Jamil Moledina, editor-in-chief of Game Developer magazine. "This is based on the fact that many developers value their working relationships with publishers and their ability to cooperatively create high quality games as much as the revenue
the games generate."
For the second year running, Electronic Arts (EA) tops the publisher league. EA performed consistently well across all the Top 20 criteria. The publisher boasts the highest revenue, the external development studios ranked them as best to work with and EA’s marketing prowess was considered second only to that of Sony Computer Entertainment.
Other highlights from the report include:
* Four publishers now have more than $1 billion in revenue. Take-Two Interactive is the new addition based on the strength of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. EA, Nintendo and Sony continue to grow;
* Microsoft climbed the most spots from last year, ranking No 2 in this year’s survey, thanks to increased sales of the Xbox and a strong reputation with developers. Last year Microsoft was No 9;
* EA continued its push towards titles based on licenses with more than 51% of all its releases falling in this category. Vivendi Universal Games, Activision, THQ and Acclaim also invested heavily in licenses and sequels;
* Top 20 newcomer Empire topped the list of original IP games with 64%. Microsoft followed closely with 56%.
Game Developer magazine’s 2004 Top 20 Publishers guide will be available for $5.95 on most major newsstands and bookstores through November 12.