2021 was Nintendo’s worst year for critically acclaimed games in over a decade

Metacritic’s annual game publisher rankings have been revealed

Review aggregate site Metacritic has published its annual game publisher rankings for 2021, with Microsoft‘s Xbox Game Studios topping the chart.

However, for the first time since the roundup began in 2011, Nintendo has failed to make it into the top ten.

Every year since 2011, Metacritic has ranked publishers based on a points system, calculated by four factors:


– Average Metascore for all games released in 2021
– Percentage of scored products with “good” reviews (Metascore of at least 75)
– Percentage of scored products with “bad” reviews (Metascore of 49 or lower)
– Number of “great” titles (Metascore of 90 or higher)

A publisher also needs to have released five games to be included in the rankings.

Xbox Game Studios topped the chart after releasing 10 products across 2021 (five games over various formats). All of them were rated “good” while three of them were rated “great” (Forza Horizon 5, Psychonauts 2 and the Xbox Series X version of Microsoft Flight Simulator) giving Microsoft an average Metascore of 87.4, the first time a publisher has ever averaged over 85 since the rankings began.

Releasing 7 titles across 2021, indie publishers Humble ranked third (between Sony and Activision Blizzard) thanks to titles like Unsighted and Unpacking. 

The complete top ten is below, while the full results can be seen here.


1. Xbox Game Studios
2. Sony Interactive Entertainment
3. Humble Games
4. Activision Blizzard
5. Bethesda Softworks
6. Capcom
7. Bandai Namco
8. Sega
9. Electronic Arts
10. 505 Games

For the first time in its twelve year history though, Nintendo has failed to make the top ten of Metacritic’s publisher rankings, coming in at 14 on the list despite releasing new Mario and Metroid titles.

In other news, last week it was announced that Nintendo’s Metroid Dread won Game Of The Year at the BandLab NME Awards 2022.

The long-awaited side-scroller beat out 343 Industries’ Halo InfiniteIO Interactive’s Hitman 3, indie puzzle game Unpacking and Arkane Studios FPS game Deathloop for the win.


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