After information that the Chinese company HoYoverse/miHoYo (Genshin Impact game), earned more in 2022 than Activision Blizzard or Electronic Arts and was included in the list of the largest game companies in the world, I wanted to remember which game companies are on this list. Well, all the financial statements are already provided, we can sum up. So, the 10 largest gaming companies in the world as of June 2023. Note that although this is 2022 results, for some companies it is already the 2023 fiscal year, which ends on March 31, 2023.
Country Japan / USA
Year of establishment 1946 / 1993 (gaming division)
Revenue in 2022 $26.5 billion
Top-grossing game 2022 God of War: Ragnarök
If anyone still remembers, the big Sony makes televisions, cameras, speakers, and players, is in the music and movie business, and more. But in recent years, it was the gaming segment that brought Sony the biggest profits. In fiscal 2023 (ended March 31, 2023), games and online services, including PlayStation, brought in $26.5 billion, or 31% of total revenue.
The great Sony was created under the name Tokyo Tsushin Kogyo in 1946, engaged in electronics, and became Sony only in 1958. The division Sony Interactive Entertainment (formerly Sony Computer Entertainment) appeared in 1993 to help the company enter the very interesting gaming market. The result of these efforts was the release of the PlayStation game console on December 3, 1994, in Japan and September 9, 1995, in the United States. Everything else is history.
In 2022, Sony sold 19.1 million PlayStation 5 consoles, significantly surpassing competitors from Microsoft. Games and gaming hardware brought Sony $1.8 billion in revenue. And the most successful game last year for Sony was God of War: Ragnarök.
Year of establishment 1975 / 2000
Revenue in 2022 $15.56 billion
Top-grossing game 2022 Minecraft
Although the Microsoft Games division was officially established only in March 2000, the company published games even before that, even if you do not count solitaire and Minesweeper. For example, the Microsoft Flight Simulator series has been released since 1982. But in the late 1990s, interest in games grew, and the company began to buy up game studios. So we got the Age of Empires series, MechCommander, MechWarrior 4, and finally, Halo.
It received its current name Xbox Game Studios only in 2019, having previously tried three others – Microsoft Games (2000-2001), Microsoft Game Studios (2001-2011), and Microsoft Studios (2011-2019). Xbox Game Studios deals only with games and services for Xbox consoles, software is developed by the big Microsoft.
Games and gaming services brought Microsoft $15.56 billion in 2022, which is actually a pittance compared to the company’s $198.3 billion in total revenue and $72.7 billion in profit in 2022. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn’t disclose the number of Xbox consoles sold per year Series X|S, but according to analysts, the company will again lose to competitors in the ratio of 1:2. Microsoft itself recently lost in the “war of consoles”. But Xbox Game Pass already has 120 million users who pay for a monthly subscription.
Minecraft is considered the most profitable game of Microsoft 2022. In fact, it is not surprising, it is generally the best-selling game of all time. Back in 2021, Microsoft reported selling 238 million copies of Minecraft. As a reminder, this game from Mojang Studios (owned by Microsoft since 2014) was released back in 2011 and continues to develop.
Year of establishment 1998 / 2003
Revenue in 2022 $13.9 billion
Top-grossing game 2022 PUBG Mobile
The Chinese conglomerate Tencent is primarily messengers QQ and WeChat and the microblogging platform Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
Tencent became interested in games in 2003, and it all started with games for the QQ platform and mobile phones. Since the second half of the 2010s, the company has been actively investing in Western studios.
Tencent 100% owns the Norwegian Funcom (The Longest Journey, Age of Conan), the Canadian Digital Extremes (Warframe), the British Splash Damage (Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, Gears Tactics), the American Riot Games (League of Legends), the English Sumo Group ( studio The Chinese Room, Auroch Digital), American Turtle Rock Studios (Left 4 Dead, Back 4 Blood) and a number of other companies. It was Tencent at the beginning of the full-scale invasion that bought the remnants of “1C” and turned them into the supposedly Polish (not) Fulqrum Games.
In addition, Tencent has a large share in other Western companies: Grinding Gear Games (Path of Exile) – 80%, Supercell (Clash of Clans, Clash Royale) – 84%, Epic Games – 40%, Don’t Nod – 22, 63%, Bloober Team – 22%, FromSoftware – 16.25%, Ubisoft – 9.99%, Frontier Developments – 9%, Paradox Interactive – 5%, Remedy Entertainment – 3.8%. That is, Tencent earns profits even from other companies on this list.
Tencent’s most profitable game in 2022 was PUBG Mobile, which was developed by LightSpeed & Quantum Studio, which is owned by Tencent through South Korea’s Krafton. Since the release of PUBG Mobile in 2018, the game alone has brought in more than $10 billion for Tencent, with over 60% of that money coming from China.
Year of establishment 1889 / 1973
Revenue in 2022 $13.92 billion
Top-grossing game 2022 Pokemon Scarlet/Violet
Unlike the first three companies on our list, whose main business is not related to games (in the case of Sony, this is already a bit of a moot point), Nintendo is a purely gaming company. In addition, Nintendo is the oldest company on this list.
Nintendo was founded as Nintendo Karuta in 1889 in Kyoto by artisan Fusajiro Yamauchi, who hand-crafted Japanese hanafuda playing cards. By the way, Nintendo still makes hanafuda cards, although in much smaller numbers, but with Mario.
In the late 1960s, Nintendo began to produce electronic toys, and the company’s first console, the Color TV-Game, was released in 1977 and was sold until 1983. A total of 3 million copies were produced. Then there was the famous series Game & Watch (1980), which was pirated in the USSR (“Well, weather!”, “Secrets of the Ocean”, “Hunting”); Family Computer / Nintendo Entertainment System (1983), Game Boy (1989) and a bunch of iconic games.
In 2017, Nintendo stopped producing “big consoles” and focused on handhelds. Although it is actually Nintendo, not Sony, that is winning the current generation console war. As of March 31, 2023, Nintendo has sold 125.62 million Nintendo Switches, while Sony has only sold 38.4 million PlayStation 5s.
In 2022, Nintendo sold 17.97 million Nintendo Switches and earned $3.156 billion in revenue. The highest-grossing game of 2022 is Pokemon Scarlet/Violet, the first game of the ninth generation of the endless Pokémon series.
Year of establishment 1979 / 2008
Revenue in 2022 $7.53 billion
Top-grossing game of 2022 Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II
Activision was founded in 1979 by former Atari employees. Blizzard Entertainment appeared in 1991 as Silicon & Synapse. Today’s Activision Blizzard is the result of the 2008 merger of Activision and Vivendi Games (which included Blizzard Entertainment).
In fact, the company now has three major business segments: Activision Publishing (Infinity Ward, Sledgehammer Games, Treyarch, and others), Blizzard Entertainment (five internal studios), and King, which is engaged in mobile games and reaps profits from Candy Crush.
And while Activision Blizzard’s revenue fell slightly in 2022, the company made $1.51 billion in revenue and has a very strong portfolio of games. And recent successful releases Diablo IV and Diablo Immortal should improve the company’s position.
The most profitable game of 2022 for Activision Blizzard was Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022). We remind you that the argument regarding access to the Call of Duty franchise is almost the main claim on the part of Sony against the agreement between Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. On the other hand, if the #2 company in any market wants to buy the #5 company, it will, of course, worry the #1 company and the regulators “a little bit”.
Year of establishment 1982
Revenue in 2022 $7.42 billion
Top grossing game 2022 FIFA 23
Electronic Arts was founded in 1982 by former Apple Computer strategy and marketing director William Murray Hawkins III, better known as Trip Hawkins. Later in 1991, Trip Hawkins created the 3DO Company to enter the console market, but this project failed, and 3DO became a developer and publisher of games (for example, they published all the classic strategy Heroes of Might and Magic and role-playing games Might and Magic).
And although Electronic Arts got “famous” among players as the company that closes well-known studios, the publisher has been successfully working in the game market for more than 40 years. EA is famous for sports games, it is games in the Star Wars franchise, it is Apex Legends and Need for Speed, Battlefield, and RPG BioWare. Many good memories.
A year ago, Electronic Arts took on FIFA, and FIFA 23 became the last game licensed by the International Football Federation. But that doesn’t seem to faze EA one bit. The next games in the series will be called EA Sports FC, and EA has already signed exclusive deals with the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, French Ligue 1, German Bundesliga, Italian Serie A, and American MLS.
Recently it became known about the reorganization of the company, which will be divided into two large divisions – EA Entertainment and EA Sports. The first will handle all games except sports, plus possibly other media products (in-game movies, series, etc.). The second is only sports games, including racing.
Electronic Arts’ most profitable game in 2022 is, of course, FIFA 23. Overall, the company earned $802 million in revenue last year.
Year of establishment 1993
Revenue in 2022 $5.349 billion
Top-grossing game 2022 NBA 2K23
Take-Two Interactive was founded in 1993 by 21-year-old Ryan Brant with money borrowed from his parents. The company drew its lucky ticket in 1998 when it purchased the rights to the small arcade Grand Theft Auto from the British DMA Design and BMG Entertainment for $14.2 million worth of its own shares. DMA Design was later renamed Rockstar Studios and is now known as Rockstar North. In 2001, DMA Design’s Grand Theft Auto III took Take-Two into the big leagues.
Take-Two currently operates two publishing brands – Rockstar Games and 2K and has the rights to the BioShock, Borderlands, Civilization, Grand Theft Auto, Mafia, Max Payne, NBA 2K, PGA Tour 2K, Red Dead, WWE 2K, and XCOM game series.
Despite a large revenue of $5.349 billion (+52.6% to FY 2022), Take-Two Interactive posted a hefty loss of $1.124 billion that year. 2K had almost no big releases in 2022, Tiny Tina’s Wonderlands, The Quarry, New Tales from the Borderlands та Marvel’s Midnight Suns did not live up to the expectations, the next GTA is still in development. But NBA 2K23 did not let down: it became Take-Two’s most profitable game in 2022.
Year of establishment 2012
Revenue in 2022 $3.82 billion
Top-grossing game 2022 Genshin Impact
China’s miHoYo breaks into top 10 video game companies after a bravura article by the Chinese government publication Guangming Daily, dedicated to 30 leading companies in the field of entertainment of the PRC. It was there that the impressive figures of the income and especially the profit of the studio producing free gacha games were announced. In 2022, the company earned 27.34 billion yuan (about $3.82 billion) and made a profit of 16.14 billion yuan (about $2.25 billion).
miHoYo was established in Shanghai in 2012. The letters “H” and “Y” in the name miHoYo come from the names of two of the three founders, Cai Haoyu and Luo Yuhao, and the letter “O” was added based on their presence in the names of all famous companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Strange logic, but so be it. The company was created by three students of the Shanghai University of Transportation right in the dormitory.
The first game of the not-yet-registered studio, FlyMe2theMoon, was released on the Apple Store in 2011. The first big success in the international arena for miHoYo was Honkai Impact 3rd (2016), in which the studio found the formula for success – anime + gacha + action/RPG. Well, then there was Genshin Impact, related merchandise, comics, anime, etc.
The studio recently released a sci-fi turn-based RPG Honkai: Star Rail and is preparing for publication the cyberpunk action/RPG Zenless Zone Zero.
The main market for miHoYo is China and the Asian region, but fans of the studio’s games are already in all countries. Of course, miHoYo’s top-grossing game in 2022 is the free-to-play Genshin Impact.
Year of foundation 1950 / 2005
Revenue in 2022 $2.9 billion
Top-grossing game 2022 Elden Ring
Bandai Namco Holdings was formed in 2005 through the merger of Bandai (1950) and Namco (1955). Bandai at one time produced traditional children’s toys, and in 1983 began developing console games. Namco was engaged in toys, amusement parks, and game arcades, in 1977 it became interested in video games.
Bandai Namco is still in the business of regular toys, theme parks, and everything else, so video games are only a part of the company’s revenue. Big Bandai Namco earned $7.3 billion in 2022, but video games brought the company only $2.9 billion, and the profit from this segment was only $673 million overall.
Bandai Namco Entertainment is home to the Pac-Man series, Tekken, Soulcalibur, Tales, Ace Combat, Taiko no Tatsujin, The Idolmaster, and of course the Dark Souls series. It was another game from FromSoftware – Elden Ring – that became the publisher’s most profitable project in the 2022 fiscal year. As of February 2023, more than 20 million copies of Elden Ring have been sold.
Year of establishment 1986
Revenue in 2022 €1.814 billion (approx. $1.981 billion)
Top grossing game 2022 Assassin’s Creed games
Ubisoft was founded in Montreuil (France) in 1986 by the five Guillaume brothers. Yves Guillemot is still the company’s executive director. Ubisoft was created as a gaming offshoot of the brothers’ other company, Guillemot Informatique, which offered cheap computer hardware imported from Great Britain to French farmers. Now part of Ubisoft more than 50 studios and companies, including two studios in Ukraine – Ubisoft Kyiv (founded in 2008) and Ubisoft Odesa (2018).
Ubisoft is the series of Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, For Honor, Just Dance, Prince of Persia, Rabbids, Rayman, Tom Clancy’s (Division, Rainbow Six, Ghost Recon, Splinter Cell), The Crew and Watch Dogs. In recent years, the company has become interested in creating huge sandbox worlds and service games.
Unfortunately, recently Ubisoft has not been able to get out of numerous scandals, moreover, new releases do not live up to the company’s expectations, and really interesting Ubi games, such as Mario + Rabbids or Immortals Fenyx Rising, do not receive the support of players.
Ubisoft’s revenue in 2022 fell to just €1.814 billion (approximately $1.981 billion), not to mention profits, and the company suffered losses of an impressive €500 million.
In 2022, Ubisoft had no successful big releases. Judging by the rather vague company’s annual report, they earned the most thanks to the old games of the Assassin’s Creed series – the re-release of Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection on Nintendo Switch and the tail of DLC sales for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and Assassin’s Creed Origins.
Hopefully, 2023-2024 will be a time of recovery for Ubisoft. The company has a strong new lineup with games like The Crew Motorfest, Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, and Star Wars Outlaws.
The following two companies should take high places in this ranking, but they are not public, do not disclose their fortunes, and all data about their financial activities that can be found in the public domain is nothing more than speculation or rough estimates by experts. So Valve and Epic Games are out of the rankings.
Year of establishment 1996
Revenue in 2022 $13 billion (estimated)
Top-grossing game of 2022 Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
Valve was founded in 1996 by former Microsoft employees Gabe Newell and Mike Harrington. At Microsoft, Gabe Newell was, in his own words, “the producer of the first three releases of Windows.” Mike Harrington left Valve in 2000, before the incredible success of Steam, but Newell still owns more than 50% of the company’s shares.
In 2022, Valve is believed to have earned close to $13 billion, and interest from the sale of games on Steam accounted for almost 80% of this amount. The Steam library already has more than 50,000 games, and starting in 2020, more than 10,000 games are added to the catalog every year. The monthly number of players on Steam is 120 million.
Among the most popular Steam games, the top two positions are occupied by Valve’s own games – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Dota 2. In addition, another product of the company, Team Fortress 2, has not left the Top for 16 years. After the announcement of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive 2 players started spending crazy money in this game, so Counter-Strike: Global Offensive is estimated to be Valve’s most profitable game in 2022.
The last major single-player game from Valve is Half-Life: Alyx (2020) for VR headsets.
ХХ. Epic Games
Year of establishment 1991
Revenue in 2022 $6 billion
Top-grossing game 2022 Fortnite
Epic Games was founded by programmer Tim Sweeney in 1991 as Potomac Computer Systems, because the first “office” of the company was located in the house of Sweeney’s parents in the city of Potomac (Maryland). From 1992 to 1999, the company was called Epic MegaGames, and it was during this period that fame came to it. In 1998, the Unreal shooter was released, and in 1999, the network shooter Unreal Tournament.
The development of the first version of the Unreal Engine for the future Unreal was started by Tim Sweeney in 1995, and the current version of Unreal Engine 5.2 is one of the most popular game engines of today, on which hundreds of games are created.
In addition to the Unreal Tournament series, Epic Games is known for its Gears of War, Infinity Blade, and Fortnite games. The latter saved the company and brought it to the top league.
In 2018, Epic Games launched its game distribution platform, the Epic Games Store, as a competitor to Steam. In 2021, the company started publishing games again. For example, the publisher of the upcoming Alan Wake II is Epic Games Publishing.
Tim Sweeney still owns more than 50% of Epic Games. 40% is held by Chinese Tencent, and another 4.9% of shares are held by Sony.
Of course, the most profitable game of Epic Games in 2022, as in all recent years, is Fortnite.
As you can see, the largest game companies in the world are located in China, the United States, and Japan. The only European company at the top is Ubisoft. Well, the Chinese, American and Japanese markets are the biggest for the gaming industry. Does the new company now have a chance to get into the top gaming league? As the experience of the Chinese miHoYo shows, it does. Let’s return to this list in a year and see what has changed.