Not all companies are created equal, a mantra that holds true in the video game industry as well. Whether it’s incredible business sense or simply a incredible resume of developers in the fold, there are a few companies that are simply head and shoulders above the rest. Going into the 2010 Holiday season here are the Power Rankings among the giants in the industry.
Nintendo comes in at number one with no real surprise. The best sales of the current generation whether you’re looking at handheld or home-based consoles, Nintendo has been making a killing. To date, 75 million Wiis have been sold; numbers the gaming industry hasn’t seen since the previous generation with Sony’s PlayStation 2. Nintendo’s also been dominating the handheld market as well as the Nintendo DS and its various incarnations have sales totaling over 130 thirty million, making it the best selling handheld console of all-time. Nintendo also has undoubtedly the most reliable franchises in all of gaming: Mario is going strong with Super Mario Galaxy 2 which has already managed to move over five million units. Combine all of that with the endless amount of family-oriented titles (or shovelware if you like to be hard on Nintendo).
With the most hated man in gaming as president and CEO, Activision Blizzard Inc. comes in at second. While there are plenty of reasons to explain it really comes down to two flagship franchises: Call of Duty and World of Warcraft. One has 12 million subscribers while the other managed to surpass pre-orders for a previous entry in the series that has gone on to sell 20 million units worldwide. Cataclysm and Black Ops are likely to compete for game of the year by time the dust settles from the holiday season. The anticipation for both releases is incredible and the series are improving on previous installments and the hype monster has never been bigger. Don’t forget to take into account what StarCraft II means for the competitive gaming scene. One trip over to MLG or keeping up with the smattering of tournaments via Team Liquid and you’ll know just how much of a monster the game is. Oh and let’s not forget Guitar Hero.
Electronic Arts is another company that is usually criticized in the gaming community, but there’s no denying the success of their flagship franchises. Madden has been a staple for over a decade, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 has been the critically acclaimed Call of Duty rival that everyone was expecting it to be (even going so far as to be on the verge of releasing a Vietnam expansion pack on the heels of Black Ops). Rhythm games are still incredibly popular and while it may not be the giant Guitar Hero is Rock Band still moves millions of units a year. Fact in The Sims and tons of other popular sports titles and you’ve got one of the steadiest companies in the business.
While the previous entries are the three heaviest hitters by a decent margin Ubisoft manages to come in swinging. There are other competitors such as Sony Computer Entertainment and Square Enix, they’ve become hit or miss recently, just take a look at the FF14 disaster. Ubisoft has managed to put together a string of hits that appears to be on the verge of continuing. The change of pace to the Splinter Cell franchise created one of the most surprisingly enjoyable titles in the genre with Conviction and there simply is no stopping Assassin’s Creed at this point.
A strong three and an interchangeable fourth, expect things to be shaken up by time the holiday season finishes.