The 10 Most Successful Video Game Publishers Of The Decade, Ranked By Revenue

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Before getting to the entries in this list it is important to discuss the methodology behind the ranking and revenue totals. Some of the companies on this list, like Activision/Blizzard and EA, have readily available figures for revenue per year. Other publishers, such as Bandai/Namco, group all electronic entertainment into one category; so it is difficult to determine the percentage of those figures from video games. Some companies, like Google and Microsoft, make only a small percentage of their revenue from gaming, and this percentage is not always available. There is also the problem of different sources reporting wildly different figures for some of these publishers. When revenue for one of these publishers for a particular year was not readily available the average of the previous and following years was used. The figures given in the entry titles for earnings since 2010 are for video games sales; since, as mentioned previously, many of these companies earn revenue from many different sources.

10 Bandai/Namco – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 24.2 Billion

 

Bandai/Namco had several franchises that helped to establish them as a premier video game developer in the 2010s; some of the more notable of these are the Dark Souls games and the Dragon Ball Z games. Dragon Ball FighterZ has become especially popular, being featured in many Esports competitions.

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Many of the Bandai/Namco games are based on manga franchises like My Hero Academia and One Piece. This publisher averaged about 2 billion dollars a year in revenue; with the best year of the decade being 2018 when they made 2.74 billion from video game sales.

9 Google – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 29.8 Billion

Google has been trying to break into the video game industry for some time. Time will tell how popular Google’s new Stadia console, released one day before this article was written (Nov. 19, 2019), will be with gamers. The lion’s share of revenue from the Google App Store is from games. The average percentage of revenue from games from app sales is around 70%. Google would probably be higher on this list if free-to-play games didn’t dominate the list of most downloaded games on Google Play. In 2018 google made 6.5 billion from publishing video games.

8 NetEase – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 30 Billion

This is not a company many North American gamers are probably familiar with. NetEase is a Chinese technology company that operates much like Google with numerous sources of revenue such as advertising and email services. However, a large portion of their revenue comes from publishing video games. NetEase has a partnership with Blizzard, and provides the Chinese market access to some of Blizzard’s popular online games; like World of Warcraft and Hearthstone. In 2018 NetEase’s revenue from game publishing was 6.2 billion; on average they earn about 3 billion per year, but their annual revenue has grown significantly over the last four years.

7 EA – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 40 Billion

It is not surprising to see Electronic Arts in this list considering the number of gaming companies they own. Some of the most popular game franchises are now under EA’s umbrella. Some of the more well-known are; the Madden, The Sims, FIFA, and the Battlefield franchises. Few gamers probably predicted how successful EA would become when they first began publishing games for the Commodore 64 back in 1983. In 2018 EA’s revenue was 5.29 billion, and on average their annual revenue is around 4 billion dollars. Not bad for the most hated company in North America.

6 Apple – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 45.2 Billion

Apple does not see itself as a gaming company, yet it is one of the most successful video game publishers due to its App Store. Apple prefers to project the image of a company that supplies technology for education, music, and business applications.

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While Apple did try to launch its own gaming console in 1996, named the Pippin, it was ultimately a monumental failure for them. As a side note, Apple’s failed console was manufactured by the #10 entry Bandai. In 2018 Apple’s revenue from gaming was 9.45 billion, and on average their annual revenue since 2010 is 5 billion.

5 Activision/Blizzard – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 49.7 Billion

 

Activision was founded in 1979 by disgruntled Atari employees, an quickly became known for publishing high-quality games. Blizzard was founded in 1991 and soon launched the first game in its flagship franchise – Warcraft: Orcs & Humans. The two companies merged in 2013 when Activision acquired Vivendi Games; who owned Blizzard. The resulting merger created one of the largest international game publishing companies due to the pooled intellectual properties. Some of the company’s biggest franchises are Call of Duty, Skylanders, Diablo, and Warcraft. In 2018 Activision/Blizzard’s revenue was 6.89, and on average their annual revenue is about 5 billion.

4 Microsoft – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 63.1 Billion

 

It seems like Microsoft has always wanted to be in the video game business. In 1995 they released Windows ’95 that was a much more game-friendly platform than previous versions. Then in 2001 Microsoft launched their first Xbox console to compete with Sony’s PlayStation 2 and Nintendo’s GameCube consoles, and since that time Microsoft has steadily increased its share of the market. Their biggest successes so far have been the Halo, Gears of War, and Forza franchises. In 2018 Microsoft’s revenue from game publishing was 9.75 billion, and their annual revenue is about 7.4 billion.

3 Nintendo – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 64.7 Billion

At this point Nintendo’s legacy as game publisher/developer, and manufacturer of quality consoles is beyond secure. This company is responsible for some of the most beloved game franchises ever created. A short list of some of the most notable franchises include; Mario Bros., Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pokémon, and Super Smash Bros.

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Nintendo has always sought to be the most innovative of game companies, and in general they have been successful when introducing new concepts – like the motion controls of their Wii console. In 2018 Nintendo’s revenue from publishing games was 4.3 billion, but on average their annual revenue since 2010 is about 7.8 billion.

2 Sony – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 88.4 Billion

Although Sony has been a game publisher since 1989 under the Sony Imagesoft label, it didn’t become a major force in the video game industry until the release of the PlayStation in 1994 – which was an immediate success. Some of their best-selling game franchises are; God of War, Crash Bandicoot, and Uncharted. Like Nintendo, Sony strives to publish games of the highest quality, and because of this their games are usually some of the best-selling games for their PlayStation consoles. Sony’s revenue for 2018 was 14.2 billion, and on average their annual revenue is about 10 billion.

1 Tencent – Approximate Revenue Since 2010: 92.4 Billion

Tencent is huge. The video game industry’s total revenue for 2018 was around 138 billion dollars, and Tencent’s share of that was 18.7 billion. This gives them a 13% market share globally. Despite this, many North American gamers have probably never heard of Tencent. This is mainly due to the company’s presence being largely confined to China, where the company is headquartered. Tencent’s primary source of gaming revenue comes from mobile and online gaming. Some of their more famous games are League of Legends and Honor of Kings (which is the 7th highest-grossing game of all time). Tencent’s annual revenue since 2010 is about 10.9 billion.

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