Sony Interactive Entertainment has earned the title of the top publisher for 2022 in Metacritic’s 13th annual Game Publisher Rankings, surpassing Paradox Interactive, Activision Blizzard, Focus Entertainment and Take-Two Interactive.
Metacritic used different criteria to create its list. These included the average Metascore of games, the percentage of games that received positive reviews of 75 or higher, the percentage of games that got negative reviews of 49 percent or lower and the number of games that earned a Metascore of 90 or higher in the previous year.
All 15 games Sony published in 2022 received a positive Metascore. The average Metascore for all of its releases was 85.6 out of 100 and two games were classified as “great” with a score of 90/100 or higher.
Of all the games that Sony published in 2022, MLB: The Show 22 earned the lowest Metascore, which is now a multiplatform game. The baseball game managed to score 77 out of 100.
Metacritic also said the publisher must have put out at least five different titles in the preceding year to be considered for the rankings. It’s worth noting, though, that publishers tend to perform better in these charts by releasing a smaller number of games that are highly rated rather than a larger quantity of games that include some poorly-rated titles.
For example, PlayStation introduced several acclaimed games, including God of War Ragnarok, Horizon Forbidden West and various PC versions of popular titles from its catalog in 2022. These games helped Sony secure the top spot in Metacritic’s list, displacing Microsoft, which had held the top position in 2021.
Microsoft did not even make it onto the list this year. Xbox, for a start, had a less-than-ideal year in 2022 about its exclusive game offerings. This issue was due to the postponement of Starfield and Redfall to 2023, leaving Obsidian’s Pentiment as the only internally developed game released that year.
Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer acknowledged the company’s poor performance in 2022 and expressed optimism that 2023 would be a better year. Xbox has already released Hi-Fi Rush without any prior announcement and Redfall is scheduled to launch on May 2, while Starfield is expected to arrive in September.
Some publishers made progress in Metacritic’s rankings
The Game Publisher Rankings list by Metacritic comprises 45 publishers. Several publishers made significant progress in the rankings compared to their previous year’s performance.
Despite not making the list last year, Paradox Interactive was ranked the second-best publisher of 2022 by Metacritic. The console release of Crusader Kings 3 was a significant factor in its placement.
After Paradox Interactive, there is Activision Blizzard which ranked third. The publisher maintained a 90 percent positive record, with no games receiving negative reviews. Its highest-rated game, Dragonflight, a World of Warcraft expansion, earned a Metascore of only 82.
Meanwhile, depending on the platform, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 scored between 76 and 79. Its lowest-rated game was the PC version of Diablo Immortal, which had a score of 59.
Despite its relatively smaller size than other leading publishers, Focus Interactive rose to fourth place and stood out due to its well-received games, such as A Plague Tale: Requiem or Divinity: Original Sin Enhanced Edition.
Nintendo ranked outside the top 10
Top Japanese video game company Nintendo failed to reach the top 10 on the Metacritic rankings for the second consecutive year. In Metacritic’s 13th annual Game Publisher Rankings list, it secured the 12th position — a slight jump from 14th place last year. The publisher ranks lower than the relatively unknown French publisher Red Art Games.
The typical review score for Nintendo has risen as well, from 76.0 to 78.6. According to Metacritic, Xenoblade Chronicles 3 was Nintendo’s highest-rated game in 2022, with an average score of 89. Bayonetta 3 and Splatoon 3 also performed well, with average scores of 86 and 83, respectively.
However, the overall ranking of the Kyoto-based company may have been affected by lower scores from games like Pokémon Scarlet & Violet with an average of 72, the lowest rating for a major Pokémon game on Metacritic. Nintendo Switch Sports also had a low score (72 on average), as well as Mario Strikers: Battle League (with an average of 73).
Another Japanese publisher Bandai Namco earned the 24th spot. Digimon Survive was hit with a lot of negative reviews. The user scores on Metacritic for the PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and Xbox One versions are 7.0, 7.1, 7.6 and 6.2, respectively.
Ubisoft, a game publisher based in France, saw a substantial decline in its ranking, dropping from 19th to a disappointing 38th place. Its newest game, The Settlers: New Allies, published for PC in February, got mixed reviews, receiving a relatively low Metacritic score of 59.