Xbox is the best publisher of 2021: just a few years ago it seemed utopia

Xbox is the best publisher of 2021: just a few years ago it seemed utopia

Xbox is the best publisher of 2021

Over the past few hours, Metacritic has awarded the best publisher of 2021 award and the winner was… Xbox. Yes, you have not read wrong: the brand of the gaming world created by Microsoft has in fact won the most coveted editorial award by the famous review aggregator for pop culture products. A scenario that was hardly conceivable until a few years ago.

Until very recently, in fact, Microsoft was certainly not navigating in a prosperous situation. The Xbox brand has been surrounded by fierce criticism for some strategies dictated by Don Mattrick, who at the time of the Xbox One launch imposed very strict policies on used and always online. The perception of the brand, combined with the lack of long-term strategy, therefore gave the Redmond home a bad moment, which however was able to recover in style.

Xbox successes are probably just beginning. Over the next few years, the acquisitions of Phil Spencer will lead to even more important results at least at the release level on consoles and PCs. In all likelihood, the Microsoft brand will be able to take home even more prizes than in the past.

You can buy Forza Horizon 5 for Xbox consoles on Amazon.

Nintendo loses out to Microsoft & Sony in Metacritic’s 2021 publisher ranking

Forza Horizon 5 was but one of Microsoft’s top scoring games of 2021 (pic: Microsoft) © Provided by Metro Forza Horizon 5 was but one of Microsoft’s top scoring games of 2021 (pic: Microsoft)

Microsoft is Metacritic’s best publisher of 2021, with Sony coming just behind, but Nintendo nowhere in sight.

Another year means another Annual Game Publisher Rankings from Metacritic and the results of 2021 are certainly interesting. Microsoft being at number one shouldn’t be so surprising, given the games they had out last year, but what’s most shocking is that Nintendo didn’t even make the top 10.

After barely breaking in at number nine for the 2020 list, Nintendo’s 2021 releases weren’t enough to help it maintain its spot, dropping down to number 14.

As a reminder, these rankings are determined by the average Metascore for all games released that year, the percentage of scored games that get over 75%, the percentage of scored games with a score lower than 49%, and the number of games scoring over 90%.

It’s that last point that hurt Nintendo as while it certainly released several well received games in 2021, like Metroid Dread and Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s Fury, none of them managed to score higher than 90%.

Microsoft, or more specifically Xbox Game Studios, jumped from number six all the way to number one, with an average score of 87.4 across all its games. What’s especially impressive is that no company has ever managed to obtain an average score higher than 85 before.

As Metacritic explains, Microsoft didn’t publish that many games in 2021 when compared to previous years. The ones it did, however, were consistently high scorers, with the likes of Psychonauts 2, Forza Horizon 5, and Microsoft Flight Simulator all scoring above 90%.

Technically, Microsoft dominated the top five, as fourth and fifth place went to Activision Blizzard and Bethesda, respectively, with the latter already being part of Microsoft and the former currently in the process of being acquired. Funnily enough, Activision achieved fourth place thanks to its Crash Bandicoot and Tony Hawk: Pro Skater games, two franchises it seems to have abandoned in favour of Call Of Duty.

Sony, meanwhile, took the silver medal. Granted, two of its 2021 releases were PlayStation 5 upgrades of PlayStation 4 games (Ghost Of Tsushima and Death Stranding), but it was also the year of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart and Returnal. What held it back was Destruction AllStars, the closest thing to a dud from Sony that year with a score of only 62%.

Curiously, third place went to Humble Games. While it’s primarily known for being an indie game storefront, it publishes games too, with some of its prominent highlights including puzzle game Unpacked and sci-fi adventure Unsighted. 2021 was its best year ever, seeing it jump all the way from the number 18 spot in the 2020 rankings.

As for the previous number one, Sega, it slipped to eighth place. Despite plenty of releases from Atlus and Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, its best scoring game was Yakuza: Remastered Collection with 87% on PC. The underwhelming performances of Sonic Colours: Ultimate and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 tie-in game definitely didn’t help.

You can see the top 10 yourself below or visit Metacritic for the full list of 43 ranked publishers. If you’re curious who’s at the bottom, that would be Merge Games, who… we’re guessing you probably haven’t heard of before.

1. Xbox Game Studios

2. Sony

3. Humble Games

4. Activision Blizzard

5. Bethesda

6. Capcom

7. Bandai Namco

8. Sega

9. EA

10. 505 Games

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