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Metacritic's 14th Annual Game Publisher Rankings

We reveal the past year's best and worst video game publishers (based on their 2023 releases) in the 14th edition of our annual Game Publisher Rankings.
by Jason Dietz —?
maingamepublishers2024

Which game publishers released the best games in 2023? For the 14th consecutive year, we sifted through 12 months of data to determine the best and worst game publishers of the year, based solely on the quality of their 2023 releases. Sales and user reviews do not factor into these rankings; only critic reviews (as captured by each game's Metascore) are used to evaluate performance.

Publishers are ranked from worst to best in the gallery above based on a points system, calculated (as in previous years) according to the following four factors:

(1) Average Metascore for all games released in 2023
150 possible points (awarded at 1.5 x the average Metascore)

(2) % of scored products with good reviews (Metascore of at least 75 )
100 possible points (ex: 80% good = 80 points)

(3) % of scored products with bad reviews ( 49 or lower; in this case, a lower % is better)
100 possible points (ex: 20% bad = 80 points)

(4) Number of "great" titles (Metascore of 90 or higher, min. 7 reviews)
Awarded as 5 bonus points for each distinct title with a 90+ score

As you can see above, the Metascore average (the first factor) counts slightly more than the other factors. Only publishers with five or more distinct titles released last year are included in our rankings.

The Rankings (Worst to Best)


#46: Perpetual (Perp Games) (161.5 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore for 2023 releases: 52.1
6 scored products * (6 distinct titles **): 17% good, 33% bad ***
"Great" games: none ?
Best 2023 game: VR Skater (PS5) 77

We don't delight in calling out our worst-ranked publisher, but each year someone has to finish last. This year that company is Perp Games, which serves as a third-party publisher for small developers (in addition to publishing titles developed in-house at parent company Perpetual Europe). Just one of the company's 2023 releases received positive reviews (and barely at that), while a few—Enchanted Portals and the dreadful PlayStation version of Greyhill Incident—scored well into the red.

Notes for this and all other entries:

* Scored products are the number of products released last year with at least four reviews from professional critics (which is the minimum needed to have a Metascore calculated); iOS games are not included.

** The difference between Distinct Titles and Scored Products, if any, results from multi-platform releases; for example, if The Sims 4: Even More Tables and Chairs comes out on the Switch, PS5, and PC, that counts as 3 total products but just 1 distinct title.

*** % Good / % Bad represent the % of those scored titles receiving a Metascore in the green range (75+) or red range (49 or lower), respectively.

? To qualify as Great (which earns the publisher 5 bonus points apiece), a game must have a Metascore of at least 90 and have at least 7 critic reviews. (If multiple versions of a multi-platform title qualify, we only count that title once.)


#45: Microids (178.4 points)

Previous year's rank: 31 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 61.8
14 products (8 titles): 0% good, 14% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Agatha Christie - Murder on the Orient Express (PC) 74

Microids is the only publisher with 5 or more scored titles in 2023 that failed to release a single positively-reviewed game.


#44: PlayWay/Ultimate Games (183.8 points)

Previous year's rank: 45 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 55.9
5 products (5 titles): 40% good, 40% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: House Flipper 2 (PC) 79


#43: Nacon/Daedalic Entertainment (209.2 points)

Previous year's rank: 40 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 65.2
35 products (20 titles): 26% good, 14% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Barotrauma (PC) 81


#42: Marvelous/Xseed (212.7 points)

Previous year's rank: 22 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 67.7
18 products (9 titles): 22% good, 11% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Melon Journey: Bittersweet Memories (PS5) 76


#41: Idea Factory (214.9 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 69.2
9 products (6 titles): 11% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! - Pirates of the Disturbance (NS) 76


#40: Untold Tales (226.7 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 67.8
8 products (6 titles): 25% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Bang-On Balls: Chronicles (PC) 86


#39: Freedom Games (233.1 points)

Previous year's rank: 42 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 69.7
7 products (5 titles): 29% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: City of Beats (PC) 79


#38: 505 Games (233.9 points)

Previous year's rank: 21 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 67.0
12 products (5 titles): 42% good, 8% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Ghostrunner 2 (PC) 81


#37: Humble Games (236.5 points)

Previous year's rank: 9 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 71.0
10 products (6 titles): 30% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Coral Island (PC) 82

Indie game publisher Humble had the biggest drop among all publishers this year, falling 28 spots from last year's placement.


#36: Maximum Entertainment (238.4 points)

Previous year's rank: 36 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 70.0
27 products (10 titles): 33% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Bramble: The Mountain King (XBX) 83

Statistics above for the newly renamed publisher (formerly listed as Maximum Games) also include products released under the brands Just For Games, Merge Games, and Modus Games.


#35: PQube (239.8 points)

Previous year's rank: 39 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 68.2
8 products (6 titles): 38% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: ghostpia Season One (NS) 82


#34: Saber Interactive (241.2 points)

Previous year's rank: 33 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 71.9
9 products (5 titles): 33% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Teardown (XBX) 85


#33: THQ Nordic (includes HandyGames) (244.1 points)

Previous year's rank: 37 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 71.0
24 products (13 titles): 38% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Jagged Alliance 3 (PC) 81


#32: Plaion (244.9 points)

Previous year's rank: 34 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 71.2
42 products (21 titles): 38% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: RIDE 5 (XBX) 84

The numbers above include games released under the brands Deep Silver, Milestone, Prime Matter, and Ravenscourt.


#31: Outright Games (246.3 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 70.9
10 products (6 titles): 40% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: PAW Patrol World (XBX) 79


#30: Serenity Forge (252.0 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 72.7
7 products (6 titles): 43% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: LISA: Definitive Edition (NS) 83


#29: Atari (253.0 points)

Previous year's rank: 14 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 73.5
14 products (8 titles): 43% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Mr. Run and Jump (PS5) 81


#28: Plug In Digital (253.3 points)

Previous year's rank: 19 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 73.5
9 products (5 titles): 44% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Gravity Circuit (PC) 89

PID's totals include games published under its Dear Villagers brand.


#27: Bandai Namco (254.5 points)

Previous year's rank: 24 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 72.4
24 products (11 titles): 46% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Armored Core VI: Fires of Rubicon (PC) 86


tied at #25: Frontier Foundry/Frontier Developments (261.0 points)

Previous year's rank: 5 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 74.0
12 products (5 titles): 50% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Stranded: Alien Dawn (PC) 81


tied at #25: Take-Two Interactive (261.0 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 74.0
18 products (8 titles): 50% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Red Dead Redemption + Undead Nightmare (NS) 83

Take-Two publishes games under the brands 2K, Private Division, and Rockstar Games.


#24: ININ Games (United Games Ent.) (264.0 points)

Previous year's rank: 23 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 73.4
13 products (8 titles): 54% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Ray'z Arcade Chronology (NS) 81


#23: Ubisoft (272.3 points)

Previous year's rank: 38 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 74.1
18 products (9 titles): 61% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Anno 1800 Console Edition (PS5) 83


#22: NIS America (280.3 points)

Previous year's rank: 32 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 76.5
32 products (16 titles): 66% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: The Legend of Heroes: Trails to Azure (PC) 86


#21: Koei Tecmo (280.5 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 75.9
18 products (6 titles): 67% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Atelier Ryza 3: Alchemist of the End & the Secret Key (PC) 85


#20: Red Art Games (281.1 points)

Previous year's rank: 11 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 74.1
10 products (6 titles): 70% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Nuclear Blaze (NS) 80


#19: Square Enix (286.4 points)

Previous year's rank: 26 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 78.3
29 products (16 titles): 72% good, 3% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Star Ocean: The Second Story R (NS) 87


#18: Focus Entertainment (288.0 points)

Previous year's rank: 4 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 77.0
29 products (12 titles): 72% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge - Dimension Shellshock (PC) 87

The figures for Focus include products published under the names Dotemu and The Arcade Crew.


tied at #16: Team17 (288.3 points)

Previous year's rank: 28 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 77.5
25 products (9 titles): 72% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Blasphemous 2 (XBX) 85


tied at #16: Electronic Arts (288.3 points)

Previous year's rank: 17 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 76.6
38 products (15 titles): 68% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 1
Best 2023 game: Dead Space (XBX) 90


#15: Microsoft (Xbox Game Studios) (289.1 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 78.4
7 products (5 titles): 71% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (XBX) 86

That "n/a" above is not a misprint: Microsoft had an unusual 2022 in which they released just four scored titles, leaving them one short of qualifying for last year's rankings.


#14: Gearbox (290.5 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 77.0
12 products (6 titles): 75% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Remnant II (XBX) 85


#13: Sony (291.4 points)

Previous year's rank: 1 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 77.6
10 products (10 titles): 70% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 1
Best 2023 game: Marvel's Spider-Man 2 (PS5) 90

Sony's calculations include PC games published under the company's new-ish (and somewhat confusing) PlayStation PC label, as well as one VR game published by Sony's film studio.


#12: Playism (296.4 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 77.6
5 products (5 titles): 80% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: DRAINUS (NS) 84


#11: Devolver Digital (301.6 points)

Previous year's rank: 10 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 78.4
19 products (11 titles): 79% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 1
Best 2023 game: The Talos Principle 2 (PS5) 90


The Top 10


10-Thunderful

#10: Thunderful (303.3 points)

Previous year's rank: 25 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 79.1
13 products (7 titles): 85% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Worldless (PC) 85

Swedish game company Thunderful (which also releases games under the labels Rising Star Games and Headup Games) had the biggest jump in our rankings this year, rising from 25th place a year ago (and 37th two years ago) to land in this year's top 10. In addition to the 2D platformer Worldless (co-published with Coatsink), Thunderful had five other 2023 titles score 80 or higher.


9-Sega

#9: Sega (306.1 points)

Previous year's rank: 7 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 78.8
35 products (15 titles): 83% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 1
Best 2023 game: Persona 4 Golden (NS) 90

The last time the consistently good Sega didn't place in our top 10 was in our 2020 rankings. And Sega's 2023 achievements are even more impressive given that the publisher released far more products than any other company in this year's top 10. That said, Sega's best games last year were ports of older titles (namely, a pair of Persona releases) rather than new IP.


8-Bethesda Softworks

#8: Bethesda Softworks (308.3 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 80.0
12 products (6 titles): 83% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 1
Best 2023 game: Hi-Fi Rush (PC) 90

Now owned by Microsoft but still operated as a separate business, Bethesda had a number of critical hits in 2023, including an enhanced edition of classic Quake II and the stylish, award-winning rhythm game Hi-Fi Rush. Were there disappointments as well? You might think of Starfield, which proved a bit more divisive with critics and gamers than expected but became the publisher's biggest launch in its 36-year history (though player counts have since fallen off considerably). But Bethesda's one unequivocal 2023 failure was Redfall, a new FPS IP that was plagued by technical issues and poor design.


7-Aksys Games

#7: Aksys Games (310.2 points)

Previous year's rank: 13 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 78.5
8 products (8 titles): 88% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 1
Best 2023 game: Jack Jeanne (NS) 90

The California-based publisher, which specializes in bringing Japanese-language games to Western audiences, received plenty of positive reviews for its all-Switch lineup in 2023. Leading the pack was visual novel Jack Jeanne and the circus adventure Radiant Tale, while the publisher's lone 2023 misfire was Inescapable: No Rules, No Rescue.


6-Nintendo

#6: Nintendo (312.1 points)

Previous year's rank: 12 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 79.5
22 products (22 titles): 73% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 4
Best 2023 game: The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom (NS) 96

Placing yet again in our top 10, Nintendo released more titles than any other publisher on this year's list. But despite the fact that four of those titles scored 90 or higher—easily the best among all publishers this year—Nintendo was prevented from ranking even higher by its relatively low 73% success rate, which was the lowest among all publishers cracking our top 10.


5-Annapurna Interactive

#5: Annapurna Interactive (313.6 points)

Previous year's rank: 8 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 80.2
17 products (8 titles): 88% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 1
Best 2023 game: Cocoon (PS5) 90

If there is such a thing as an "art house" game publisher, Annapurna probably fits the bill. And their 2023 roster of indie games was another great one, led by sci-fi puzzle-centric adventure Cocoon, hand-drawn horror tale Mundaun, and the wildly original Thirsty Suitors. Preventing Annapurna from a 100% success rate was the puzzle game Storyteller, which met with mixed reviews.


4-DANGEN Entertainment

#4: DANGEN Entertainment (316.4 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 77.6
5 products (5 titles): 100% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: The Last Spell (PC) 82

Barely releasing enough products to qualify for our list, Japanese publisher DANGEN nevertheless ranked highly thanks to its 100% success rate, with all five of its 2023 releases scoring 75 or above.


3-Chorus Worldwide

#3: Chorus Worldwide (318.5 points)

Previous year's rank: n/a (of 45)
Average Metascore: 77.6
9 products (5 titles): 100% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: A Space for the Unbound (NS) 85

Ten-year-old indie game publisher Chorus Worldwide doesn't usually release enough products to qualify for our list. Not only did they do so in 2023, they did it with style: Every one of their releases (including narrative adventure A Space for the Unbound and a Coffee Talk sequel) was greeted by positive reviews.


2-Raw Fury

#2: Raw Fury (318.6 points)

Previous year's rank: 16 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 79.1
8 products (7 titles): 100% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: none
Best 2023 game: Cassette Beasts (PC) 83

Despite not having a single game score higher than the 83 awarded to the indie open-world RPG Cassette Beasts, Swedish publisher Raw Fury landed in second place for the same reason that our #3 and #4 publishers ranked so highly: consistency. Each of Raw Fury's 2023 releases was positively reviewed, with none scoring lower than American Arcadia's 76.


1-Capcom

#1: Capcom (325.7 points)

Previous year's rank: 6 (of 45)
Average Metascore: 84.5
25 products (11 titles): 84% good, 0% bad
"Great" games: 3
Best 2023 game: Resident Evil 4 (PS5) 93

Finishing at #1 for the first time since the 2019 edition of our annual Game Publisher Rankings, Capcom benefitted from the massive critical acclaim for its latest Resident Evil remake. But the publisher also released two other 90+ games in Street Fighter 6 and Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective and many more in the 80-89 range. The company's lone 2023 disappointment? Exoprimal, a welcome, if ultimately lackluster, attempt to launch a new IP.

Previous recipients of our #1 ranking:
2023: Sony
2022: Microsoft
2021: Sega
2020: 505 Games
2019: Capcom
2018: Bethesda Softworks
2017: Electronic Arts
2016: Sega
2015: Nintendo
2014: Take-Two Interactive
2013: Electronic Arts
2012: Microsoft
2011: Take-Two Interactive


Additional notes on our methodology:

  • Mobile games are excluded from our calculations.
  • All scores in this report are from March 6, 2024, and U.S. release dates and publishers are used for all games except those never released in the U.S.
  • Only publishers of the digital (downloadable) versions of each game were included in our calculations, except in any extremely rare cases where a game was released in a physical format but not digitally.
  • When multiple publishing brands are owned by a single parent company, we will group all of the titles together under the parent company name EXCEPT in cases where it is clear that the subsidiaries are operated independently from the parent and where the names of the parent and subsidiaries are not used interchangeably by storefronts and other game sites.
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