Top 10 Game Companies

In Associate Editor Jason Fanelli’s upcoming feature, he will be taking votes on who many of his known associates consider to be their top ten game companies. He will then be compiling those votes and using them to construct a top 25 game companies list. As a preview of this upcoming feature, I have decided to list my personal top ten list, as perhaps a taste of what is to come. I will also, as usual with a top ten list, give my reasons as to why these companies are in their respective spots.

10) Naughty Dog

Makers of the Uncharted Series.

It isn’t easy to go from making console platform games to creating a successful AAA action series, but that’s exactly what Naughty Dog did. After spending years providing Sony with quality casual console platformers like Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter for the PlayStation and PlayStation 2, the developer decided to go in a completely new direction with the Uncharted franchise, a AAA series that combined third-person shooter action with platforming and movie-like visuals. Drake’s Fortune was a certified PS3 classic, while Among Thieves went on to win several awards and was one of the most critically and financially successful titles of 2009. Gamers are now drooling at the thought of additional Among Thieves DLC, an Uncharted movie, and most important of all, Uncharted 3. It can be considered the must-own series for PS3 owners. When a company can do that, even without Naughty Dog’s previous success, it deserves to be in the top ten.

9) Capcom

Makers of Street Fighter.

It’s not hard to see why Capcom is sitting here on this list. The company has been an industry staple since Mega Man first hit the Nintendo Entertainment System back in 1987. Capcom has provided a plethora of memorable game series. Street Fighter, Devil May Cry, Marvel vs. Capcom, Phoenix Wright, Dead Rising, Viewtiful Joe, Onimusha, and Monster Hunter have all come from this big developer/publisher. The company’s success has crossed over several gaming genres and garnered a very diverse fan base. The recent shortcomings of Lost Planet 2, racial discussion surrounding Resident Evil 5, mixed feelings over Dead Rising 2, and the departure of Kenji Inafune have hurt Capcom in the past year, but with the new Devil May Cry, Mega Man Legends, and very highly anticipated Marvel vs. Capcom 3 on the way, it seems like Capcom will bounce back.

8) BioWare

Makers of Mass Effect.

When you have the ability to create gold with almost every single RPG you lay your creative fingers on, you’re going to get into this top ten. That is why BioWare is here in the eight spot. They were behind the D&D-inspired PC juggernaut Neverwinter Nights. They made Star Wars video games cool again with Knights of the Old Republic, the most critically successful and arguably best Star Wars game of all time. Then after making a solid game with Jade Empire, BioWare went on to make a little game called Mass Effect. The series is one of gaming’s biggest moneymakers and this year’s Mass Effect 2 is one of 2010’s biggest critical successes. The developer also created the solid Dragon Age: Origins. With Dragon Age 2, Mass Effect 3, and the long-awaited Star Wars: The Old Republic on their way, it’s easy to say that BioWare is going to be a big player in the industry for a long time to come.

7) Sony

Creators of the PlayStation.

One of the three current console manufacturers, Sony revolutionized games with the original PlayStation. They turned games from cartridge-based to disc-based. They also revolutionized the industry in the graphics department, and still do. The company really knows how to make quality consoles, although recently that quality has come at a steep price. The release of the PlayStation 3 at $600 hurt the console’s early sales and forced Sony to take a backseat to Nintendo and Microsoft for most of this console generation. Not to mention its online component was nothing to Xbox LIVE in the beginning. However, the PS3 price has now been at $300 or less for the past year and since then has been selling much stronger than before, even better than the Wii and Xbox 360. With price now out of the picture, Sony is primed to take back the near-dominance it once enjoyed.

6) Rockstar

Creators of Grand Theft Auto.

If you can revolutionize a genre and have several other developers and publishers copying your formula, you know you’ve done a pretty good job. Rockstar did that with the Grand Theft Auto franchise and completely turned the gaming world on its head with open-world games. The developer has been the benchmark for the genre for nearly a decade. But that wasn’t enough for Rockstar, so they went and revolutionized another. The company went and did what so many in the industry thought could not be done. They created a successful and amazingly fun game based on the Wild West. Western games had been either outright failures or mediocre offerings before 2010, but that didn’t shake Rockstar from creating one of the year’s best in Red Dead Redemption. The game is still coming out with DLC and is one of the most popular games played on Xbox LIVE. Now whenever anyone in the industry thinks of open-world games or Westerns, they’ll think Rockstar.

5) Microsoft

Makers of the Xbox and Windows OS for PC.

Microsoft has had the hardcore gamer demographic in a practical stranglehold since the release of the Xbox. With quality graphics, top-notch games, and the best online console experience in Xbox LIVE, it’s no surprise that Microsoft started out stronger than Sony during this console generation. The relative affordability compared the PS3 helped as well. And then consider the fact that all PC gaming comes thanks to Microsoft’s Windows operating system, so not only does the company have a hold on one platform, but two. With the recent lackluster E3 press conference and PS3 price drop, Microsoft hasn’t looked as strong lately as it has in the past few years, but the company hopes to change that when Kinect releases this month (despite it looking to be a lot of false promises to hardcore gamers in order to get the attention of casual players). Still, Microsoft’s success and superior online game components get it this high spot in the list.

4) Blizzard

Creator of World of WarCraft.

When you have an entire convention dedicated to your games, and thousands of people flood its halls every single year, you know you’ve been successful. Blizzard has been one of the biggest names in the industry for close to two decades. Series such as StarCraft, WarCraft, and Diablo made them a juggernaut in the 1990s with some of the very best games available for the PC. This was before they went and completely overthrew EverQuest and made millions of people everywhere trade in their real lives for virtual ones with World of WarCraft. One of the most popular games in history, WoW still has millions of fans playing frequently. Blizzard has kept the game fresh with expansion packs, and will be radically reshaping the game world with Cataclysm. They also released what may very well be the most anticipated game of all time in StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty this summer to extreme success. The developer is now deep into development on the long-awaited Diablo III and is working on a new MMO. It may be owned by a large publisher, Activision, but Blizzard is still one of the industry’s biggest companies.

3) Electronic Arts

Makers of all things sports and more.

Name a genre, and Electronic Arts will almost certainly have produced a game for it. Sports? Pick one (Madden, FIFA, NHL, etc.) RPG? See BioWare. Shooter? Medal of Honor. Racing? Burnout. Movie crossovers? Bond and Lord of the Rings. Casual? The Sims. The list goes on and on. Electronic Arts has a knack for making/publishing good games, profiting off of them, and then using those profits to buy other companies to make more good games for them. After all, they began the small developer buyout war that vilified themselves and Activision. At the start, EA was the more hated company, but thanks to Bobby Kotick and Activision’s growing reputation of ruining their cash cows, most gamers don’t mind EA’s juggernaut status anymore. When you produce tons of quality games AND allow your subsidiaries to do the same with their own creative freedom, that kind of thing will happen. It is for these reasons that EA gets such a high rating here in the top ten list.

2) Valve

Creators of Half Life and Steam.

Not only is Valve great at making games, they know how to make a great online component for the PC community. Steam has become THE way PC gamers get their games and add-on content. The system is one of the big reasons why some analysts and industry members believe that disc-based retail for videogames will soon become obsolete. This is all without even mentioning that Valve is the juggernaut developer behind the Half Life, Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress, and Portal games. They are also the most mod-friendly game maker in the industry today and have a ridiculously large community of fans. They also have become much more Apple friendly, with Steam recently releasing for the Mac. The team has Portal 2 on the way and a couple of planned announcements to make in the next calendar year. When you have this much success with such a broad audience, you’re definitely one of gaming’s best companies in the world today.

1) Nintendo

Creators of the Wii, DS, Mario, Donkey Kong, etc.

There’s a reason why Nintendo is called The Big N. They have been the cornerstone of the videogame industry for nearly three long decades. Nintendo revolutionized console gaming multiple times over and perfected handheld gaming. The company brought motion controls back from the dead and made it the most mainstream, popular form of casual gaming today. It’s even aiming to revolutionized 3D gaming with the upcoming Nintendo 3DS. Characters such as Mario, Link, Samus, Luigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Kirby, Pikachu, and many more were created by this company. Although there was a time, during the GameCube era, when Nintendo seemed to be fading into the night like Sega and Atari, it came back with a vengeance thanks to the Wii. Nintendo is now THE videogame company. They have the most console and handheld sales, develop and publish their own AAA franchise titles, and have gamers hanging on their every word for innovation in the industry. There really could not be any other company suited to be number one.


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Myspace
  • Google Buzz
  • Reddit
  • Stumnleupon
  • Delicious
  • Digg
  • Technorati
Author: Mike Murphy View all posts by
Mike has been playing games for over two decades. His earliest memories are of shooting ducks and stomping goombas on NES, and over the years, the hobby became one of his biggest passions. Mike has worked with GamerNode as a writer and editor since 2009, giving you news, reviews, previews, a voice on the VS Node Podcast, and much more.

Leave A Response

You must be logged in to post a comment.