Game Developer Magazine and Game Developer Research's highly-anticipated annual Top 20 Publishers report has debuted for 2009, revealing that publisher Nintendo has maintained its top position on the chart for the third year running.
The countdown, which builds on six years of ongoing research, includes a wide-ranging reputation survey distributed to industry professionals, alongside revenue data, release counts, average review scores, and anonymous feedback from development partners.
It saw the Kyoto-headquartered publisher hold chart-topping scores in revenue and partner feedback, as well as strong reputation scores, allowing the company to once again stand at the top of the heap.
Electronic Arts was again the runner-up, a position the former list-topper has held since Nintendo dethroned it, followed by Activision Blizzard, which held its #3 spot for the fourth year running; Ubisoft, which maintained its #4 slot; and Take-Two, which jumped up a place from #6 to #5, displacing Sony Computer Entertainment.
Brand new to the list was Bethesda Softworks, whose parent company ZeniMax has been busy -- in addition to its sterling performance with internally-developed Fallout 3
, it has been expanding publishing operations and recently acquired noted developer id Software. Fallout 3
allowed the company to take the top rating for review scores, and combined with strong reputation performance, Bethesda entered the Top 20 at an impressive #7.
Viacom's MTV Games also made its debut appearance at #14, thanks to the success of subsidiary developer Harmonix's numerous Rock Band
releases, with fellow first-timer Warner Bros. Interactive appearing at #16.
Sega was also a big mover, but in the other direction -- a declining financial situation and less-than-sterling reviews contributed to the Tokyo-based publisher dropping five places to #12.
The 2009 rankings were calculated by considering number of releases by SKU, average review scores, and estimated publisher revenue from August 2008 to July 2009. It included the results of a survey conducted to gather opinions on the major video game software publishers.
Nearly 900 industry professionals from all parts of the game production process were asked to give their opinions -– including comments -– on the reputations of each publisher in the survey, a dramatic increase in sample size over the previous year.
In addition, scores and commentary were gathered from respondents who had direct experience with the publishers in the recent past, either as workers or partners, including milestone, marketing and pay feedback.
The ranking of the top 20 publishers is as follows:
2. Electronic Arts
3. Activision Blizzard
6. Sony Computer Entertainment
7. Bethesda Softworks
9. Square Enix
14. MTV Games
15. Namco Bandai Games
16. Warner Bros. Interactive
17. Disney Interactive
A rundown of the Game Developer Research Top 20 Publishers is available to subscribers of Game Developer magazine
in the October 2009 issue, including overviews of each publisher along with select data.
In addition, a much more comprehensive, canonical Top 20 Publishers 2009 report featuring all statistics, ratings and complete survey feedback -– including numerous specific comments for each publisher -- is available at the Game Developer Research website