Metacritic, the popular video game review aggregator, has released its third yearly breakdown of the best gaming publishers. The rankings come as an aggregate of the critic Metacritic scores of each publisher's titles released in 2012. Sales and user reviews are not taken into account.
Somewhat surprisingly, Electronic Arts (EA) has topped review charts this year. This is despite being voted "Worst Company in America" by gamers fed-up with day-one DLC and micro-transactions that are popping up in every one of the publisher's releases.
Though it may be hard to remember due to the scandals over its ending and day-one DLC, Mass Effect 3 was well-reviewed upon release and tops EA's list of 2012 games with a Metacritic score of 93. The publisher's average score was 75.2, and none of its games scored a 49 or lower.
The next three publishers on the list are all first-party publishers: Microsoft with a 73, Sony with a 72.3, and Nintendo with a 71.2. Microsoft was led by Mark of the Ninja's 91, but was balanced out by poorly rated Kinect and Xbox LIVE Arcade games. Nintendo was similarly balanced by casual-gamer targeted titles, though Xenoblade Chronicles' 92 saved it from falling lower on the list. Similar to EA, Sony also did not have any scores fall below 50, though a majority of its titles fell into the "average" range from 50 to 75.
Capcom (70.4), Warner Bros (70.6), Ubisoft (68.2), Konami (69), Sega (69.9), and Activision Blizzard (64.4) rounded out the top ten. Activision's highest-rated title was Diablo III (88), but the publisher was brought low by movie tie-in games such as 007 Legends, which managed a 25 Metacritic score.
As for the "mid-size" publisher (those that released between 7 and 14 titles) rankings, Take-Two Interactive (83.1), Telltale Games (83.9), and Square Enix (75.2) led the list. Telltale Games was buoyed by each episode of its The Walking Dead adventure game, which managed to win quite a few game of the year awards.