Year formed: 1975
Headquarters: Redmond, Wash.
Studios: ACES; Ensemble Studios (Dallas); Lionhead Studios (Guildford, U.K.); Microsoft Game Studios Japan (Tokyo); Rare (Twycross, U.K.); Turn 10 (Redmond, Wash.); Wingnut Interactive (Wellington, N.Z.)
Halo 3 was this console manufacturer's big hit for the year; meanwhile, Mass Effect, Ninja Gaiden II, Lost Odyssey, and Age of Empires III, each made respectable showings.
Microsoft's plate of releases had one fewer title than last year's 15, but a number of critical darlings pushed the publisher's average review score all the way up to 78 percent, the highest in this year's study.
Microsoft received only average marks on our reputation and detailed surveys: pay and perks were rated highly and the publisher was praised for its "serious effort(s) to develop long-term relationships," while readers felt Microsoft's marketing was somewhat poor.
Microsoft Game Studios/Bungie Software's Halo 3