Metacritic's 11th Annual Game Publisher Rankings
Which game publishers released the best games in 2020? For the 11th straight 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 2020 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 2020
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
Note that 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.
Finally, note that iOS games are excluded from all calculations. All scores in this report are from March 3, 2021, and U.S. release dates and publishers are used for all games except those never released in the U.S.
Previous year's rank: n/a
Average Metascore for 2020 releases: 49.4
8 scored products * (8 distinct titles **): 13% good, 50% bad ***
"Great" games: none †
Total points: 136.7
Operating out of Poland, our lowest-ranked publisher actually released one positively reviewed title in 2020: the Switch version of Bug Academy. But Ultimate was the only publisher last year to have an average Metascore in the red range (below 50) thanks to poorly reviewed games like Robot Squad Simulator X and Super Tennis. (And that's without including even more questionable games such as the self-explanatory Wanking Simulator, which did not receive enough reviews to have a Metascore calculated.)
Notes for this and all other slides:
* 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 Tom Clancy's Mario Warriors 7: Snake's Revenge comes out on the PS4, XB1, 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 mutli-platform title qualify, we only count that title once.)