What just happened? Which publisher do you think released the best games last year? Maybe Ubisoft led the way with Assassin’s Creed Valhalla? Perhaps Animal Crossing helped Nintendo to the top spot? According to Metacritic’s 11th Annual Game Publisher Rankings, the most critically successful publisher of 2020 was actually… Sega.
Metacritic’s rankings are based on a points system that takes into account the average Metascore for all a publisher’s 2020 games and how many received bad (score of 49 or lower), good (75 or higher) and great (90 or higher) reviews.
Only publishers with five or more titles released last year were included, and just the critics’ reviews—not those from users or any sales figures—factor into the rankings.
Working from the bottom up, one of the first big names is Electronic Arts at 21. Its average Metascore for the year fell by nearly three points to 72.6. Only 44% of its games were rated Good, and none made the Great grade. The remastered Command & Conquer compilation, the Sims 4 DLC Eco Lifestyle, and EA Sports UFC 4 were its highest-rated titles, all with 82.
Elsewhere, Bethesda managed 16th spot. It had no great games, but the Xbox One version of Doom Eternal came close with 88. Ubisoft is two places higher at 14. Again, none of its games scored over 90—AC Valhalla was closest with 84.
Nintendo came in ninth place. Unsurprisingly, Animal Crossing fell into the Great category with a score of 90, and the company had no titles that scored less than 45. Microsoft is sixth thanks to MS Flight Simulator and Ori and the Will of the Wisps scoring 91 and 90, respectively.
Blizzard is fifth—no Great games, but 87% of them were classed as Good—and almost all of the titles released by third-place Capcom scored 75 or more.
Finally, the number one publisher in terms of critics’ scores is Sega. Its games averaged 81.6% in 2020, while 95% were Good and none were Bad. Persona 5 Royal (PS4) and Yakuza 0 (XB1) both scored over 90. Console ports of Two Point Hospital and Bayonetta also helped boost its score.
Top 20 publishers of 2020
2. Annapurna Interactive
5. Activision Blizzard
7. Aksys Games
8. No More Robots
10. Devolver Digital
11. Square Enix
13. 505 Games
15. Focus Home Interactive
16. Bethesda Softworks
19. Sold Out
20. Raw Fury