10 Biggest Game Companies Of All Time

Games development is a huge industry, being worth more than movies and music combined. So much like we like to know who the most paid actress or actor is or who the biggest music star currently is. Whilst games are a bit different, not usually have a single person who is the face of the games, it still makes people think, who are the biggest game companies? Which company earns the most money and which of them is the biggest game company in terms of having the most employees.

Difference Between Publishers and Developers

Before going through the list of games companies, it’s worth defining the difference between a publisher and a developer, while the jobs sometimes overlap or one company will do both, it’s worth differentiating them to better understand how games development works.

Publishers are where the money is with games. They are the ones that fund the projects, as well as usually being in charge of the distribution and advertising of the games. As such they are the ones to take home much of the sales money. Whilst many of them are also developers in their own right, the majority of their time and income come from the publishing of games rather than the development.

Game developers are the company and people that actually make the games and are responsible for the experience you have within the game. Although some developers publish their own games to avoid working with a publisher who may control part of the process, many games companies, both big and small, like to rely on a publisher to work out some of the technicalities of releasing the game.

Sony Interactive Entertainment

The Last Of Us 2

Year Founded: 1993
Company Size: 100,000 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $18 Billion
Biggest Franchise: The Last Of Us

Japan’s Sony Interactive Entertainment is the biggest of the publishers with a massive net revenue from their games of $18 billion. Sony is a massive company that spans across a lot of tech sectors and has a special advantage in the games space as they are one of the few publishers who develop their own consoles. Whilst console developers often sell consoles at a loss to make sure they get higher sales, they are uniquely positioned to land lucrative publishing deals with developers who have to work with them in some capacity to get the games on their consoles. Whilst Sony is the biggest game company in the world and most notable for publishing games, it’s also worth noting that they develop games themselves as well.


League Of Legends

Year Founded: 1998
Company Size: 86,000 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $16 Billion
Biggest Franchise: League Of Legends

China’s biggest game company, Tencent, is responsible for the majority of games that are released in China, as well as a large amount that are not. This is because China has a law that any games that are released in the country must work with a local company to do so, and as the Chinese market is so large, a lot of games companies want to access it. Due to their size and the amount of money they have to hand, they are also big investors outside of the country as well. Tencent is known for fully owning League Of Legends creator, Riot Games, as well as a 40% stake in Epic Games, among many others.


Super Mario Bros of the biggest games companies games in the world

Year Founded: 1889
Company Size: 6500 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $12 Billion
Biggest Franchise: Mario

Nintendo is another huge Japanese game developer who also makes consoles. Older than most companies as it originally started out as a card game creator rather than in video games. Nintendo has been a mainstay in the industry throughout most of its history, and by far the longest-running console producer, after outlasting rivals Atari and Sega and continuing to make both consoles and hand-held consoles to this day. Although it competes with some of the biggest companies in terms of revenue and influence, Nintendo is a much smaller company in terms of employees, partly because it focuses on developing and publishing its own first-party titles rather than publishing other people’s games.



Year Founded: 1980
Company Size: 182,000 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $10 Billion
Biggest Franchise: Minecraft

The last of the big 3 console developers, the USA’s Microsoft is the next biggest game publisher. Whilst it’s best known for its computers, where a lot of its main income comes from, it’s still one of the biggest players in the games industry, being responsible for the Xbox series of consoles. Much like Sony, this puts it in a great position to work with other studios as publishers but Microsoft has the added advantage of also owning the lion’s share of the PC market, opening it up to even more collaborations. Also much like Sony, Microsoft is known for making their own games, usually for PC or Xbox, as well as publishing games.


The perfect storm striking World of Warcraft - BBC News

Year Founded: 1997
Company Size: 18,000 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $6.5 Billion
Biggest Franchise: World Of Warcraft

Similar to Tencent, NetEase benefits from China’s rules about working with a Chinese company to release games in China. Most notably NetEase works closely with Activision Blizzard releasing some of their biggest titles in china, like World Of Warcraft and Overwatch. They are also known for providing internet services within China.

Activision Blizzard

Call Of Duty

Year Founded: 2008
Company Size: 9500 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $6.3 Billion
Biggest Franchise: Call Of Duty

Activision Blizzard came from the merger of the two titular companies, Activision and Blizzard Entertainment, combining two of the biggest game companies and developers in the world. Activision has been involved with a lot of games, most notably the Call Of Duty franchise. Bizzard is best known for World Of Warcraft and associated games as well as Overwatch. Activision Blizzard also owns King, which develop many of the huge mobile games like Candy Crush Saga. All in all, they have a big influence across most genres and platforms.

Electronic Arts

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Year Founded: 1982
Company Size: 9800 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $5.5 Billion
Biggest Franchise: Fifa

Electronic Arts, normally referred to as EA, is another big publisher and developer with studios around the world. Whilst many big publishers like Activision Blizzard have a bad reputation, EA tops the league when it comes to bad PR, winning the ‘Worst Company In America’ award and being nominated for it multiple times. Whilst it may not be worse than some other studios, its reputation partly comes from its aggressive acquisition of companies and game IPs which it then runs into the ground before closing that studio.

Take-Two Interactive

Grand Theft Auto

Year Founded: 1993
Company Size:
5800 Employees
Games Net Revenue:
$3 Billion
Biggest Franchise: Grand Theft Auto

Take-Two interactive is small than some of the other studios but publishes a large variety of games. Most notably Take-Two own Rockstar games and 2K, both of which publish games under their own names as well as developing their own games, Rockstar is most notable for Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption and 2K most notable for Borderlands and the NBA games.

Bandai Namco


Year Founded: 2005
Company Size: 19000 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $3 Billion
Biggest Franchise: Pac-Man

Another merger, this time between, Bandai and Namco. Bandai is a game developer who also makes toys, and Namco originally being an arcade machine developer. The company now has a large focus on games but braches out into lots of different industries, especially in Japan and the arcade scene.

Square Enix

Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Year Founded: 1975
Company Size: 5000 Employees
Games Net Revenue: $4 Billion
Biggest Franchise: Final Fantasy

Yet another merger on this list. Square was most known for the early Final Fantasy games, whereas Enix was known for the also very popular Dragon Quest series. Combining brought the two huge franchises under one roof and they continued production of both. Square Enix also acquired British company Eidos, creators of Tomb Raider and Deus Ex.