Microsoft beats Sony to win Metacritic’s game publisher of the year award
PlayStation is lauded for its exclusives, but Microsoft is the runaway winner in terms of average Metascore
Microsoft has been crowned Metacritic’s game publisher of the year, delivering an average Metascore of 87.4 for its 2021 releases. That’s an astonishing achievement, as no company has ever averaged a score above 85.
Three different titles scored 90 or higher for Microsoft, which publishes its first-party games under the Xbox Game Studios banner. Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2, and Microsoft Flight Simulator scored 90 or higher, and even Halo Infinite scored 87. All of these games were released on Xbox Game Pass on day one.
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However, what should excite Xbox owners in the future is that Activision Blizzard came in at number 4. Microsoft is set to acquire Activision Blizzard after purchasing the company for $68.7 billion. Bethesda Softworks, which came fifth this year, was also acquired by Microsoft for $7.5 billion in March 2021.
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🏆 Microsoft was the highest-rated publisher on Metacritic in 2021
🥈 Sony came 2nd while Nintendo dropped to 14th
📈 Metacritic uses a points system to determine the overall winner
In terms of Microsoft’s rivals, Sony managed an average Metascore of 81.3 and came second, while Nintendo achieved an average of 76 and came 14th. Sony had titles like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and the PS5 versions of Ghost of Tsushima and Death Stranding, which are some of the best PS5 games available right now, and many are included on PlayStation Plus Premium and PS Plus Extra. Nintendo’s highlights included Metroid Dread and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury.
What about 2022?
It’s unlikely that Microsoft will be able to claim the top spot in 2022, as it isn’t releasing as many titles this year. Sony, meanwhile, already has three well-received games available – Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves, Horizon Forbidden West, and Gran Turismo 7 – with God of War Ragnarok releasing on November 9 and The Last of Us Part 1 on September 2.
I should mention that Metacritic’s publisher rankings are calculated via a points system, not just the average Metascore. That’s why you’ll notice some publishers are lower on the list, despite having a higher average score.
Here are the top 20 publishers of 2021, based on their average Metascore:
Microsoft (Xbox Game Studios) - 87.4
Sony - 81.3
Humble Games - 80.9
Activision Blizzard - 80.6
Bethesda Softworks - 80.2
Capcom - 80.6
Bandai Namco - 78.5
Sega - 77.6
Electronic Arts - 78.3
505 Games - 75.7
Devolver Digital - 76.5
Square Enix - 75.3
DANGEN Entertainment - 73.8
Nintendo - 76
Koei Tecmo Games - 74.5
Plug In Digital - 73.3
Focus Entertainment - 72.5
Annapurna Interactive - 73.5
Ubisoft - 74.2
Raw Fury - 74.1
You can keep up to date with all the latest releases this year with our PS5 games 2022 list and Xbox Series X 2022 games list.
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Updated: July 6, 2022