In the past few decades, the video games industry has gone through the proverbial ceiling. Are you surprised? Well, you shouldn’t be. By delivering lifelike graphics and enticing storylines, video games have been providing immeasurable entertainment from the comfort of your home.
Today, over 2300 gaming companies worldwide are constantly trying to outdo each other in this fiercely competitive yet immensely lucrative market. We’ve collected the chosen few, i.e. the absolute biggest video games companies in the world, in the list below.
You don’t even have to click start to begin!
Founded in: 1993
Based in: Tokyo, Japan
Best-selling game: Uncharted 4 with 16 million sales
If you are into games, chances are, you have heard of some, if not most, of the games made by Sony. After all, the console kingpin has created some of the most impressive titles out there.
Sony Interactive Entertainment is Sony’s company in charge of console and video game development and publishing. Thanks to its immensely popular PlayStation line of consoles and the innumerable number of games produced for it, Sony is at the forefront of home-based entertainment.
Operating in its own Sony City in Tokyo, the company has a following of millions upon millions of gamers who swear by their PS4 and PS5 consoles. The latest console addition in their catalogue, the PlayStation 5, is one of the hottest tech products on the market—selling over 11 million units within ten months after its launch in November 2020!
Sony takes pride in its PlayStation exclusives, which are developed in-house. Some of the all-time greatest Sony-published games include bestsellers such as the Gran Turismo and the Final Fantasy series for the original PlayStation to the Spider-Man, Uncharted, The Last of Us, and the God of War franchises of the modern age.
In the FY 2020/21, the gaming revenue of Sony’s Gaming and Network Services amounted to more than $25 billion, even earning a hefty profit margin as a result of its biggest launch to date—the PlayStation 5. If that doesn’t scream video game industry leader, we don’t know what does.
Founded in: 1889
Based in: Kyoto, Japan
Best-selling game: Wii Sports with 82.9 million sales
Can we really talk about games without mentioning one of history’s most popular games: Super Mario Bros.? Or the company that created it: Nintendo?
However, before Gen-Xers and Yers would enjoy the finest Nintendo consoles and games, the company was producing other types of home entertainment products for close to a century, such as the colourful hanafuda playing cards.
Then, Nintendo released Donkey Kong in 1981, followed by the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) in 1983 and Super Mario Bros. in 1985. Within this brief four-year period, Nintendo established itself as a preeminent console and video game developer worldwide.
Creating its magic from the Nintendo HQ in Kyoto, the company developed some of the most popular gaming franchises of all time. In addition to Super Mario and anything related to their main mascot, Nintendo has given birth to The Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, Pokémon, Kirby, Metroid, and other titles.
With a remarkable total net sales amounting to almost $16 billion in 2021, and an even more remarkable catalogue of games, Nintendo continues to be an important player among the gaming studios of today.
Founded in: 1991
Based in: Irvine, California, USA
Best-selling game: World of Warcraft with 116.87 million accounts
When it comes to creating rich, beautiful, enormous fantasy worlds fueled by deep, intriguing lore, which seems to spur stories of its own, only one name comes to mind: Blizzard Entertainment.
Blizzard is a company that popularized both the fantasy genre and the esports scene, and gamers cannot truly earn their names until they learn about them, their history, and their games.
Since its founding in 1991 under a different name, Blizzard has gone through various iterations, acquisitions and restructurings. Nowadays, the company is a subsidiary of Activision Blizzard (after their 2008 merger); however, it still invites players from all over the world into its adventure-filled, intricate, and fantastical lands built in the 90s.
Blizzard got on the path of becoming one of the biggest video game companies in the world by releasing Warcraft: Orcs & Humans, which was the first entry in the Warcraft universe. Once this RTS franchise morphed into World of Warcraft in 2004, Blizzard Entertainment cemented its place in the annals of video game history.
Nowadays, the Activision Blizzard games catalogue contains four IP pillars that hold the company elevated above all others: Warcraft, StarCraft, Diablo, and Overwatch. While World of Warcraft became the world’s most popular MMORPG, StarCraft took up the RTS mantle. On the other hand, Diablo is Blizzard’s ARPG powerhouse, with Overwatch the newest IP of all, and Blizzards first FPS franchise.
As for the current Activision Blizzard net worth, the company is placed 373rd on the FORTUNE 500 list with a total net worth of over $72 billion as of June 2021. Moreover, its revenue for FY 2020/21 was over $8 billion with almost $2.2 billion in profits.
Founded in: March 2020
Based in: Redmond, Washington, USA
Best-selling game: Minecraft with over 200 million sales
The largest software company globally is also one of the best game developers and publishers out there. This comes as no surprise, as the company has always strived to be the leader in the tech world since its establishment in the 70s.
Towards that goal, Microsoft established its video game development division at the dawn of the new millennium under the name Microsoft Games. The company went through several iterations to end up as Xbox Game Studios since 2019, thus leveraging their Xbox brand to consolidate their hardware and software video game divisions.
The story of Microsoft and gaming started earlier than 2000, however, when their games division developed several games in-house, such as Chip’s Challenge in 1991. Also, who can forget 1995’s Minesweeper or 1996’s Flight Simulator?
As Microsoft’s game division grew and took a new form at the turn of the new century, it has started acquiring other game developers whose games they would eventually publish. In this vein, the company published some of the biggest video game franchises in history, such as Minecraft, Halo, Forza Horizon, Age of Empires, Gears of War, Fable, and many more.
The latest revenue statistics released by Microsoft show the company has accrued a $3.78 billion quarterly gaming revenue in their last quarter of FY 2020/21 ending with June. While this 11% year-on-year revenue increase was driven by a 172% boost in Xbox console sales, Xbox Game Pass subscriptions were also a significant factor in this case.
Founded in: March 1986
Based in: Montreuil, Paris, France
Best-selling game: Far Cry 5 with 20 million sales
A list such as this one would be incomplete without Ubisoft! Based just outside of Paris, Ubisoft is one of the top game developers in the world! Understandable, when year after year, they have been creating some of the most anticipated games among gamers.
Ubisoft is a company that grew from a small family business started by five brothers in the early 1980s in Brittany. After their initial offering targeting the French market, the Ubisoft video games portfolio welcomed the first Rayman game in 1995, which put the company on the tech map.
Since then, Ubisoft has been growing exponentially into a video game powerhouse, which develops and publishes games with the help of over 19,000 employees settled in 40 subsidiaries worldwide. These studios often collaborate on various projects to ensure the high game quality the Ubisoft company is known for.
As of 2021, Ubisoft Entertainment proudly relies on several popular franchises known to every gamer worldwide, including Assassin’s Creed, The Division, Prince of Persia, Far Cry, Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Watch Dogs, and others.
The estimated Ubisoft net worth as of 2021 is $4.5 billion. On the other hand, the Ubisoft revenue reported for the FY 2020/21 amounted to €2.23 billion, with most sales occurring in a digital format.
Founded in: 1982
Based in: Redwood City, California, USA
Best-selling game: The FIFA franchise with 325 million sales
If you have ever enjoyed playing sports on your computer or console, then undoubtedly, you have heard of Electronic Arts or EA Games. EA is a company that pioneered the early home computer-based gaming, and its electronic artists have created some of the most beloved gaming franchises in video game history.
However, before Electronic Arts started making games, it was a video game publishing company for several years until it internally developed 1987’s Skate or Die!, a perfect example of EA’s philosophy. What followed in the 90s was the birth of some of the most famous EA video games franchises in history, such as FIFA, NBA Live, NHL, Need for Speed, Madden, and more.
Through the turn of the new millennium and the two decades that followed, the EA games list started growing exponentially due to the increase of their in-house production capacity and the acquisition of other studios. Nowadays, Electronics Arts owns several hugely popular franchises, in addition to their sports titles, such as Battlefield, Command & Conquer, Mass Effect, Titanfall, The Sims, Star Wars, Medal of Honor, and many more.
The latest EA revenue figures for the FY 2020/21 show a minor 1.14% decline year-on-year for total revenue of $5.72 billion. Moreover, as of October 2021, the company’s worth was estimated at almost $40.5 billion.
Founded in: 1991
Based in: Cary, North Carolina, USA
Best-selling game: Fortnite with 350 million registered users in May 2020
Living up to its name in true fashion, Epic Games is currently at the forefront of video game development. The worlds they create and allow others to create with their groundbreaking Unreal Engine are astounding. Moreover, the newly-created Epic Games Store further incentivizes game development by offering the best deals to developers.
However, before Epic Games became one of the biggest and richest game developers worldwide, it existed as Epic MegaGames for the majority of the 90s, when it created Fire Fight, a shooter published by Electronic Arts.
The company finally entered the limelight in 1998 when it released the first-ever game based on the revolutionary Unreal Engine, which was ultimately recognized as the most successful video game engine ever by the Guinness World Records. This innovative game was aptly named Unreal, and it evolved alongside the engine it was originally built on.
Since that first explosive introduction in the world of video gaming, Epic Games has been building its legacy as one of the most successful game development companies in history with franchises such as Infinity Blade, Fortnite, and Gears of War. The company also acquired and operates Rocket League and Fall Guys.
As a result of the unrivalled success of some of today’s most popular multiplayer franchises, the Epic Games net worth was calculated at around $30 billion in the second half of 2021.
Founded in: 1998
Based in: Shenzhen, China
Best-selling game: Honor of Kings with revenue of almost $12 billion
For those unfamiliar with it: Tencent is a Chinese tech giant founded just before the new millennium. The company operates from China’s biggest tech hub—Shenzhen—and it does much more than just games: cloud computing, social networking, music, e-commerce, advertising, smartphones, you name it!
Though topping the list of the biggest video game publishers in the world, Tencent is a name that just doesn’t ring a bell. The reason for that is Tencent’s early absence from the desktop and console gaming market and their lack of video game production facilities. Even now, the Tencent gaming division makes most of its revenue through its mobile game sales.
Tencent entered the gaming mainstream in 2011 after acquiring the majority shares in Riot Games, the developer of one of the biggest games nowadays—League of Legends. The company’s next big investment in video gaming was purchasing a minority share in Epic Games, creators of the famed Fortnite, Unreal, and Gears of War, which later grew to a 40% stake in the company.
The latest acquisitions that Tencent added to its video games portfolio are the companies that produce games such as Clash of Clans, Path of Exile, Age of Conan, and Conan Exiles. Despite the renown of these international hits, Tencent is mostly focused on producing and publishing titles for its Chinese playerbase.
As reported in September 2021, Tencent was valued at almost $560 billion. No surprises here, really, when you learn they recorded a revenue of $68.15 billion in FY 2020/21.
Founded in: March 2006
Based in: Tokyo, Japan
Best-selling game: The Pac-Man franchise with 48 million sales
The creators of the fabled Pac-Man franchise—Namco—merged with the biggest Japanese toy makers—Bandai—in 2006 to create one of the most influential game development companies today. While Bandai dabbled in video game consoles in the 80s and 90s, Namco dominated the golden age of arcade games with titles such as Xevious, Galaga, Pac-Man and Pole Position.
Since its inception, the company has been curating an astonishing portfolio of hugely popular video game franchises. In addition to the most popular arcade game in history (also the company’s mascot), the Bandai Namco games list includes timeless hits such as Tekken, Dark Souls, Soulcalibur, Gundam, Ace Combat, Tales, and others.
Nowadays, the firm owns a separate development subsidiary that produces games in-house. Headquartered in Kōtō, Tokyo, Bandai Namco Studios has been working on several of the company’s more important IPs since 2013, such as Pac-Man, Galaga, Tales, The Idolmaster, and Tekken, as well as several Mario and Pokémon games.
Owing to its immensely popular franchises, as well as the video game publishing rights for other media franchises such as Naruto and Dragon Ball, the company’s worth has skyrocketed in the last decade. For example, during FY 2020/21, the parent company (Bandai Namco Holdings) recorded net sales in the amount of $6.72 billion and it was valued at $17 billion.
Founded in: June 1960
Based in: Tokyo, Japan
Best-selling game: Sonic the Hedgehog with over 44 million sales
The last Japanese video game juggernaut on our list is Sega—one of the top gaming companies since the 1960s. Before focusing on its mobile and video games portfolio, Sega was producing and releasing arcade games, pinball machines, and console titles. The company finally broke out into the mainstream with the launch of the Genesis console (in 1989) and one of the all-time greatest video game franchises ever: Sonic the Hedgehog.
Since then, Sega has experienced numerous ups and downs, as well as various restructurings. Following their unsuccessful launches of other consoles, Sega exited the console market and focused on its video game development and publishing business. Toward that goal, the company has acquired and established various studios to develop games for all platforms.
Presently, the company is expanding on its various multi-million Sega games franchises, such as Sonic, Total War, Yakuza, Football Manager, and more. In other ventures, the company continues working on its arcade game lines like Virtua Fighter and Initial D Arcade Stage, as well as making children’s toys. Hollywood even produced a superhero movie based on their renowned mascot.
Since the 2004 Sega and Sammy Corporation merger, the new Sega Sammy entity has greatly increased its reach in the amusement industry. As of October 2021, the total assets owned by Sega Sammy Holdings add up to almost $3.8 billion. The latest reports through June 2021 also show increased profits in the firm’s video games and pachinko segments.
The gaming industry is booming and what was, once upon a time in a galaxy not that far away at all, a small market of tech and fun enthusiasts, is now a multibillion-dollar sector estimated to reach $256.97 billion by 2025!
The biggest video game companies in the world, listed above, are the reason why other entertainment sectors are struggling to keep up with the gaming industry’s pace. However, with new names popping up everywhere, this list might look completely different in a few short years.
For now, though, we must give credit where credit’s due, and thank the best of the best to date, the finest craftsmen, the devs, and their companies—both pioneers and newcomers—that have helped this industry level up!
As someone who grew up gaming and always had a love for random facts, being able to write about gaming and technology for a living has been an absolute treat. Whenever I’m not researching my next topic for Don’t Disappoint Me, I am deflecting the attacks of Bosses in Sekiro, investigating a murder in Disco Elysium, helping Zagreus escape the underworld in Hades, or flanking enemies in Call of Duty with my squad. Having studied English language and literature has helped me merge these two worlds of random facts and gaming into a fulfilling career.