The video game industry is booming and shows no signs of slowing down. With new hardware and software being released every year, it’s no surprise that companies are vying for a piece of the pie. In this article, we will take a look at the 25 biggest video game publishers in the world. Some of these names will be familiar to you, while others may be new.
What are the biggest video game publishers around the globe?
While some organizations out there in the game industry have well-known brands, others might be relatively unknown and are still able to dominate the world of gaming. Who are the game publishers with the highest revenue as of Q2 of 2022? We’ll start with the top and work our way further down the list.
Tencent is the world’s most valuable video game publisher, with global revenues of more than $8 billion annually. The Chinese internet giant has the most diverse portfolio of games worldwide and includes some of the best-known titles available in China today, such as League of Legends and FIFA Online 3. Tencent has also been aggressively expanding into the mobile gaming market and developing new titles for a young audience, including the Pokémon GO-like AR game Mega Walls.
With more than 1 billion monthly active users on its social media platforms WeChat and QQ, Tencent has unparalleled reach among gamers in China. In fact, the company is one of the top five publishers worldwide when it comes to PC game revenue, and it’s also the number one mobile publisher (based on company earnings).
In addition to its video games business, Tencent is involved in other areas of entertainment. The company launched an international version of its streaming platform, called QQ Music, which allows users to stream Chinese music for free with ads. The platform is the most popular streaming service in China and has an estimated 40 million users. In 2017, Tencent also acquired 9% of Chinese film studio Wanda Media and began producing movies alongside Warner Bros., including Crazy Rich Asians.
The company also unveiled its new video game console – the TGP Box – which runs Android software. The console, which is similar to an Amazon Fire TV Stick or Google Chromecast, allows users to play Android games on their television.
Overall, Tencent’s expanding presence in the video game industry makes it a power player that companies have to keep an eye on. The company shows no signs of slowing down and continues to develop popular new titles, as well as invest in other entertainment projects. With its global reach and impact on Chinese gamers, Tencent is proving that it’s a force to be reckoned with when it comes to video games.
Sony Interactive Entertainment ($3,515M)
Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is a global video game company that was founded in 1993 as Sony Computer Entertainment. The division has a major presence in the gaming world and owns both studios and intellectual properties, including well-known franchises such as God of War, Uncharted, LittleBigPlanet, Gran Turismo, Until Dawn, Killzone, Shadow of the Colossus and Infamous.
Founded in 1993 by Ken Kutaragi, Sony Computer Entertainment was responsible for creating the original PlayStation console and its iconic controller, as well as several other gaming devices that were released over the years, including the PS Vita and PSP handheld consoles. Since then, SIE has evolved into a major player in the gaming world, producing well-known titles such as God of War and Uncharted, both of which were highly acclaimed by critics and gamers alike. Other popular franchises under the SIE umbrella include Gran Turismo, LittleBigPlanet, InFamous, and Killzone.
Apple, the world’s largest publicly traded company by market capitalization, is a major player in the video game industry as well. In fact, Apple has its own gaming division, called Apple Games – which was formed in 2005 after the removal of games from iTunes. The gaming team at Apple develops iOS games and works closely with third-party developers, often promoting their games on the App Store and partnering with them to bring more innovative titles to its customers.
Some of Apple’s most successful titles include Crossy Road, which was released in 2014 and has been downloaded over 250 million times so far. In addition, Apple developed Minecraft: Pocket Edition (based on the popular PC and console game) which was downloaded over a million times in just one weekend when it launched in 2016.
Apple has also been involved with gaming hardware – partnering with companies like Bungie, Valve Corporation, EA and Riot Games to develop controllers for its Apple TV device. In addition, the company created its own game controller – the arcade-style Apple Arcade – which was released in September 2019.
Microsoft has a long history in the video game industry, with products like its popular Xbox consoles driving much of the company’s success. Microsoft started in gaming years before it created the Xbox when it released Windows 95, which included built-in games like Solitaire and Minesweeper. In 2001, Microsoft launched its first console – the original Xbox – which introduced gamers to titles like Halo: Combat Evolved and Fable.
Today, Microsoft’s gaming division is headed by Phil Spencer and includes popular franchises like Forza Horizon and Gears of War. The company has also taken an interest in hardware lately, releasing the Xbox One X – considered to be one of the most powerful consoles ever made. In addition, Microsoft is currently working on a cloud-based gaming service called Project xCloud that will allow gamers to play blockbuster games like Halo and Minecraft across their mobile devices.
NetEase is a video game developer based in China that was founded in 1997. The company is best known for its popular titles, like Fantasy Westward Journey – an MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) that has over 250 million players worldwide.
In addition to developing games, NetEase also operates the game distribution platform Onmyouji, which is China’s leading online game distribution and download service. The company also publishes games from Western developers on its platform and has worked with companies like Blizzard Entertainment (the publisher of World of Warcraft) to bring their titles to Chinese audiences.
NetEase has had a long history of success in the gaming world – even partnering with Blizzard to publish the first version of World of Warcraft in China. The company’s continued innovation and dedication to developing high-quality games have helped make it one of the biggest players in the industry today.
Google, one of the world’s most well-known tech companies, is also a major player in the video game industry. In fact, Google has its own gaming division – called Google Play Games – which focuses on developing games for mobile devices and helping third-party developers to bring their titles to the Google Play Store.
One of Google’s most popular titles is Pokémon GO, a location-based mobile game that was released in 2016. The game has been downloaded over 750 million times so far and was one of the first “augmented reality” games to hit the market. In addition, Google has developed several other high-quality games, like Angry Birds, Pac-Man 256, and Candy Crush Saga.
Google has also been active in the hardware space – releasing its own line of gaming headsets called Daydream View VR in 2016. The company is currently working on new products to support its growing number of gamers worldwide – including updates to its cloud computing platform and a new service called Stadia, which will allow users to stream games directly to their devices, which, however, was recently announced to be shut down very soon.
Electronic Arts ($1,767M)
Electronic Arts, more commonly known as EA, is one of the biggest video game publishers in the world. Founded in 1982, the company has been behind some of the most popular and iconic gaming franchises ever created – including FIFA, Madden NFL, and The Sims.
EA’s success can be partly attributed to its strong focus on innovation, which has led to the development of several new technologies, like the EA SPORTS Ignite Engine and Frostbite – a game engine that powers many of its current titles.
The company is also known for its aggressive acquisition strategy, having purchased several gaming studios over the years – including BioWare, Criterion Games, Firemonkeys, and Respawn Entertainment. Today, EA continues to be a major player in the gaming industry – with millions of gamers around the world playing its games each day.
Nintendo is one of the most well-known video game publishers in the world, having played a pivotal role in the industry since its founding in 1889. The company is best known for developing iconic gaming franchises like Super Mario Bros., Zelda, and Pokémon – all of which have captured the hearts and imaginations of gamers around the globe.
In addition to developing its own games, Nintendo also operates the Nintendo eShop – an online marketplace where gamers can buy and download titles for a variety of different platforms, including its Game Boy, Wii U, and Switch consoles. The company has also been active in the mobile gaming space – partnering with companies like DeNA to release popular titles like Super Mario Run and Fire Emblem Heroes.
Despite its size and impressive history, Nintendo is still an active player in the gaming industry today – with new games being released every year and a strong community of loyal fans. Whether it’s on a console or mobile device, there’s no denying that Nintendo will continue to be one of the biggest players in the industry for years to come.
Activision Blizzard ($1,539M)*
Activision Blizzard is one of the largest video game publishers in the world, known for developing popular titles like Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Overwatch.
With over 10 million active players online every day and more than 40 million monthly users across its games, Activision Blizzard has a truly massive reach that extends far beyond traditional gamers. And as the industry continues to evolve and shift towards mobile gaming, this company is poised for continued success.
With a strong portfolio of popular franchises and innovative new technologies, Activision Blizzard is well-positioned to stay at the forefront of the video game industry in years to come. Whether you’re playing on PC or mobile, there’s no denying that Activision Blizzard will continue to be one of the biggest names in gaming for years to come.
Take-Two Interactive ($1,019M)
Take-Two Interactive is a major video game publisher, best known for developing popular titles like Grand Theft Auto, Borderlands, and NBA 2K.
Founded in 1993, Take-Two has played an instrumental role in shaping the modern gaming landscape. With its focus on innovation and creativity, the company has developed several industry-leading technologies and a strong portfolio of iconic gaming franchises.
Despite its size and success, Take-Two continues to be an active player in the industry, releasing new titles every year and maintaining a dedicated community of devoted gamers across the globe.
Sea Group ($900M)
Sea Group is a Singaporean conglomerate with a wide range of interests in businesses such as digital entertainment, e-commerce, education, and healthcare. In the digital entertainment sector, Sea Group’s key subsidiary is Garena, which is one of the largest gaming companies in Southeast Asia.
Garena initially started out as a gaming portal in Singapore in 2009, and it has since expanded its operations to include Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Taiwan. In addition to publishing its own games, Garena also operates an online marketplace called Shopee, which is the largest e-commerce platform in Southeast Asia.
With over 600 million registered users, Garena is one of the most popular online platforms in the region. Some of Garena’s most popular games include League of Legends (LoL), Arena of Valor (AoV), and Heroes of the Storm (HotS). LoL is particularly popular and is one of the most played games in the world.
Garena has also been expanding its business into other areas such as esports. The company owns two professional LoL teams – Team Liquid and Flash Wolves – and it also sponsors other major esports events such as the League of Legends World Championship.
Sea Group has been quite successful with Garena, and it is likely that the company will continue to grow its gaming business in the years ahead.
Bandai Namco Entertainment ($779M)
Bandai Namco Entertainment, formerly known as Bandai Namco Games is a Japanese publisher and developer that focuses on video game development and publishing. The company was founded in 2005 by former executives from Bandai and Namco after their merger. They have developed games for various consoles such as the Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and the Nintendo Switch. Some of the most popular titles that the publisher has developed include Tekken 7, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2, Pac-Man 256, and Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown.
With over $700 million in annual revenues, Bandai Namco Entertainment is one of the biggest video game publishers in the world. The publisher is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and has offices around the globe, including Los Angeles, Paris, Hong Kong, and New York City. As a leader in the video game industry, Bandai Namco Entertainment has been responsible for developing some of the most popular titles over the last decade such as Tekken 3D Prime Edition, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, Dark Souls 3, and Dragon Ball Xenoverse.
As a publisher, Bandai Namco Entertainment is known for its focus on quality over quantity. Unlike other publishers who often churn out games by the dozens in a single year, Bandai Namco Entertainment releases only a small number of new titles each year. Despite this limited output, the publisher has found great success with their games such as Tekken 7, which quickly became a hit with gamers around the world and was nominated for multiple awards including “Best Fighting Game” at The Game Awards 2017.
Nexon is a video game publisher based in South Korea and Japan. The company was founded in 1994 by Min Seo Kim who still serves as the CEO of the company. As of 2019, Nexon operates some of the most popular online games worldwide including MapleStory, Combat Arms, Dungeon Fighter Online, and Mabinogi. In 2012, the company launched its first mobile game, “Dragon Nest,” which led to the acquisition of Korean-based mobile game publisher, gloops. Nexon is currently headquartered in Tokyo and employs more than 7,000 people worldwide.
With over 23 years of experience in the video games industry, Nexon is one of the largest publishers worldwide. Its most popular games, MapleStory and Combat Arms have been played by millions of gamers around the globe. Nexon is known for its innovative approach to game design and player engagement, which has led to the development of some of the most successful online titles in history.
Despite being based in Japan and South Korea, Nexon has a global presence, operating in more than 150 countries and regions. It is constantly looking for ways to expand its reach and bring its exciting games to new audiences around the world. Whether you’re a fan of online RPGs, first-person shooters, or mobile games, Nexon has something that you’ll love. So if you’re ready for an
Playtika was founded in 2010 by Israeli entrepreneurs Robert Antokol and Uri Gneezy. In 2011, the company received a $20M investment from Greylock Partners and moved to Silicon Valley where it opened an office in San Francisco and hired former Zynga executive Elad Natanson as CEO. The same year, Playtika acquired Israeli social games company Plarium, adding two additional offices in Israel. In 2015, Playtika was acquired by Caesars Interactive Entertainment for $4.4B.
Playtika is an international mobile and social games developer headquartered in Herzliya, Israel with offices in Israel, the United States, Canada, and Cyprus. The company is best known for its popular social casino games, including Slotomania, WSOP, and Caesars Casino, and other online casino or gambling platforms.
Playtika has a large portfolio of games across a range of genres and platforms. Most of the company’s success can be attributed to Slotomania, a free-to-play video slot machine game with a social component that allows players to play and compete with one another.
In addition to its casino games, Playtika is also well-known for its other popular mobile titles, including The Wizard of Oz Slots (2014), House of Fun (2008), Bingo Bash (2012), Best Casino Social Slots & Poker (2015), Bingo & Slots (2012), World Series of Poker – WSOP (2011), and Bingo Blitz (2010).
Playtika is a success story for Israeli tech innovation. With its roots in Israel and its focus on worldwide expansion, the company has become one of the world’s most profitable game developers and one of the biggest investment successes in Israeli tech today. Despite being a relatively small company with only 1,000 employees, Playtika has reached more than 220 million players worldwide and generated over $640 million in revenue in 2015.
37 Interactive ($630M)
37 Interactive is an Australian gaming conglomerate that has made its name in casual mobile games. Originally known as 37Games and founded by David Ng in 2007, the company has since expanded to publish more than 100 titles, including popular games like Monster Ville, Ninja Asylum, and My Virtual Girlfriend. Featuring fun gameplay mechanics and cartoonish graphics, 37’s games have proven to be massively successful among casual gamers.
With headquarters in China, Australia, and the United States, 37 Interactive has built up a solid reputation as one of the biggest gaming publishers worldwide. As demand for mobile games continues to rise, it will be interesting to see which new titles 37 comes out with next. For now, it looks like they’ve got a hit on their hands with My Virtual Girlfriend – we’ll be keeping our eyes on this rising star in the gaming industry.
Roblox is a massively multiplayer online game created by the Roblox Corporation, a company founded in 2004. Despite being one of the most popular games for kids, it is also one of the biggest video game publishers worldwide, with over 164 million monthly active users. Unlike many other popular video games, Roblox allows players to create their own virtual reality worlds and games. Roblox is a cross between Minecraft and Second Life, which means that players are able to create their own virtual worlds using blocks but also that players can interact with other online users and even trade items within the game.
Netmarble was established in 2000 as a mobile game-exclusive studio and has since developed over 200 titles, including the massively multiplayer online RPG (MMORPG) Lineage M. In 2017, Netmarble established NextFun Company Ltd., which is responsible for producing mobile games. Netmarble Games Corporation is expanding its scope to include console games for PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. It is now one of the largest video game publishers in South Korea, with a global presence that includes offices in China, Japan, Southeast Asia, and North America.
Netmarble’s games have been downloaded more than 200 million times worldwide. The studio strives to create innovative gameplay experiences for a diverse audience, and its titles are played by over 40 million people every month. Netmarble has won numerous awards for its games as well as the company itself, including South Korea’s Presidential Award in 2011 and a prestigious CEO of the Year award in South Korea in 2013.
NCSoft is a major publisher of online games that is based in South Korea. Founded by Chairman YoungKee Kim along with his wife PyungGon Kim, NCSoft was initially a distributor for foreign developers like Electronic Arts, Bethesda Softworks, and Square Enix, among many others.
In recent years NCSoft has become a major player in the online gaming industry, with popular titles like “Guild Wars,” “Lineage,” and “Blade & Soul.” Their games are known for their high-quality visuals, compelling storylines, and engaging gameplay.
With an annual revenue of over $499 million and millions of loyal fans around the world, NCSoft is one of the biggest publishers in the video game industry. Whether you’re a gamer yourself or just an avid follower of the gaming world, NCSoft is one company you won’t want to miss.
Square Enix ($465M)
Square Enix is a video game publisher and developer based in Japan. Although it might not be as big as some of the other, more well-known publishers listed here, Square Enix has managed to carve out a significant niche for itself. With more than 200 million games sold worldwide, this company has had great success with action roleplaying games (RPGs), and it continues to be a major player in the video game industry. Square Enix is perhaps best known for its popular Final Fantasy franchise, but it also owns other notable gaming series such as Dragon Quest, Tomb Raider, Hitman, Just Cause, and Deus Ex. Not surprisingly, most of these franchises are centered around role-playing genre games.
One thing that sets Square Enix apart from many of its competitors is the fact that it has a very strong presence in both high-end and mobile gaming. In addition to producing top-quality console titles for platforms like PlayStation, Windows, and Xbox, Square Enix also develops mobile games at the same time. This allows it to reach a wider audience, and it is able to maintain strong sales in both the high-end and mobile gaming markets. To date, Square Enix has developed more than 200 games across all of its franchises, including Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts III.
Konami is a Japanese developer, publisher, and manufacturer of video games. Founded in 1969, the company has grown over the years to become one of the biggest publishers in Japan. Konami currently holds over 21% market share in Japan, behind only Nintendo. The company is best known for franchises such as Castlevania (in which Konami is the official owner of the series), Metal Gear, Silent Hill (whose rights were recently acquired by Itagaki’s Valhalla Game Studios), and Pro Evolution Soccer. In recent years, Konami has also begun making slot machines and arcade hardware.
Because of its dominant position in Japan, many of Konami’s most profitable games have come from its Japanese studios. This includes the iconic Metal Gear series, one of the most acclaimed video game franchises in history. The games follow the exploits of a special forces agent known only as “Snake”, with each title telling his story. Kojima Productions is generally credited with creating the first open-world action-adventure stealth video game, which was later refined in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Outside of Japan, Konami has had less success. Despite their years-long partnership with the English Premier League and famous clubs like Liverpool FC, Konami’s Pro Evolution Soccer series is often overshadowed by Electronic Arts’ FIFA franchise. However, in recent months, Konami’s flagship football game has returned to the top of the sales charts in Europe, demonstrating that there is still a place for quality video game franchises, even if they’re not made by industry giants like EA.
Century Huatong Group ($425M)
is a leading gaming publishing company in China, specializing in publishing and distributing high-quality fantasy MMORPGs. Some of its popular games include “Zhu Xian Online,” “Big Bang Age,” “ChronoBlade,” and more. The company has also partnered with some renowned game developers from around the world to publish various international games in China. With its extensive experience in the gaming industry, Century Huatong Group has grown significantly to become one of the biggest players in the Chinese game market.
Founded in 2005, China-based Century Huatong Group ($425M) is a leading publishing company that specializes in distributing high-quality fantasy MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games). The company has partnered with some renowned developers and publishers around the world to bring popular international games into China.
CyberAgent is a Japanese company that produces social games for mobile devices. Based in Tokyo, it was founded in 1995 by Tomoyuki Akiyama, who had previously worked at SoftBank Mobile. One of the most notable products from CyberAgent is AnimeMate, an app for watching anime shows on Android and iOS devices. In recent years, however, the company has ventured into the mobile gaming market, with at least two games in the top 100 grossing apps on iOS and Android.
CyberAgent is one of Japan’s biggest players in the video game publishing industry. With a market value of over $402 million, it is also considered to be one of the most successful startups in the country. Founded in 1995 by Tomoyuki Akiyama, who had previously worked at SoftBank, the company started out as an Internet service provider that provided dial-up access to people across the country.
However, it wasn’t until 2003 that CyberAgent began making its own games. The first title was called AnimeMate, an app that allowed users to stream anime shows on their mobile devices. The app quickly became popular among anime fans and is still very popular today, with over 10 million downloads worldwide.
Zynga is a leading publisher of social games with more than 290 million monthly active users. The company was founded in 2007 and has since grown to become one of the largest gaming companies in the world. Zynga’s most popular games include Farmville, Words with Friends, and Zynga Poker.
Zynga is headquartered in San Francisco, California. The company has several subsidiaries and offices around the world, including Boston, Dallas, and Beijing. Zynga’s success is largely due to its unique business model. Unlike many other game publishers, Zynga does not rely on big-name developers or release dates for new games. Instead, the company uses proprietary technologies that allow it to quickly design and deploy new titles on a regular basis. As a result, Zynga is able to stay ahead of trends in the gaming industry and continually introduce new, popular titles that are enjoyed by millions of players.
Embracer Group ($361M)
Embracer Group, formerly known as THQ Nordic AB and Nordic Games before that, is a Swedish video game publisher founded in 2008. The company acquires IPs from other companies and revives them through development and re-marketing. Embracer has so far been able to turn 9 brands into profitable ventures, including Darksiders, de Blob, and Titan Quest.
Embracer’s portfolio is a mix of AAA blockbusters (Darksiders III), popular indie games (de Blob), core PC titles such as Mutant Year Zero: Road to Eden, and even mobile gaming franchises like Book of Life for Android and iOS devices.
Embracer’s success isn’t necessarily surprising, considering how much IP acquisition and revival have become common in the video game industry. Big companies like Disney, Nintendo, and Microsoft have acquired new brands over the past few years. Embracer has arguably been more successful than most of these other publishers in revitalizing their IPs, thanks to their willingness to take risks with original titles based on established franchises.
Ubisoft is a well-known French publisher with a long history in the video game industry. Founded in 1986, Ubisoft has grown to become one of the world’s largest and most successful interactive entertainment companies, with 10 studios and more than 20,000 employees worldwide. Ubisoft develops, publishes, and distributes entertainment software for consoles and PCs. The company has published some of the most well-known and critically acclaimed games, including Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin’s Creed.
Ubisoft is a leader in the fast-growing esports market. The company owns several professional teams as well as esport platforms such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Pro League, Ubisoft Blue Byte, Ubisoft Paris, and Ubisoft Berlin.
Despite its impressive track record, the company is facing some challenges. In recent years, it has struggled to adapt to shifting trends in the video game industry. For example, although Ubisoft remains a leader in the PC gaming market, some experts say that it is falling behind in mobile gaming compared with other publishers such as Tencent and NetEase.
Despite these challenges, Ubisoft remains an industry heavyweight, and it is likely to continue growing in the years ahead. With a strong presence in both console gaming and mobile gaming, this French publisher is poised for continued success.
*It is to be noted that once the ongoing acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Microsoft is completed, it’s likely to promote Microsoft to a higher position on this ranking.
Innovation beyond the largest players
Not noteworthy publishers out there necessarily have to be considered some of the world’d biggest. There are many developers and publishers out there who do very interesting and innovative work even though they might not have thousands of employees. On the contrary – sometimes it’s even more interesting to find some interesting projects among the smaller or at least less popular publishers.
Oftentimes it can be beneficial to work with smaller publishers too from the perspective of their partners. For instance, some smaller publishers might be more agile, and more flexible and possibly want less of a cut from the profits of a release in exchange for their services. For instance, I recently came across Kinephantom Game Publisher which seems like an interesting group to work with.
On that note, in case you’re looking for a partner to work with, it might be also worth not looking only within the group of the largest around the globe. Sometimes there’s an advantage to staying among peers of a similar size to your own organization.
Photo credit: The feature image is symbolic and has been done by RyanKing999.
Source: The data comes from industry analyst Newzoo.
Editorial notice: Update December 2, 2022 – We were informed about a mistake in the article. We incorrectly stated that Generation Zero was published by Embracer Group, but actually, it is published by Systemic Reaction which is a part of Avalanche Studios Group. Thanks for the notice!