Top 10 Game Publishers of All Time - #10 2K Games

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to perform a bit of research on all the PC games that I’ve played and owned over the years and objectively determine which publisher I bought the most games from and also which developers seemed to be at the helm of my favourite games. I could even run a Top 10 games for each year of the 1990s and 2000s (although admittedly, for a few years I didn’t quite reach the 10 games played mark!).

This might seem simple to do at a glance but there are some issues I had to make a call on – like which games to include? Some of the games I may have bought but didn’t turn out liking at all or I only played them for 5 seconds. Also many of the publishers/developers are actually related to each other if you delve into their history. I’ve done my best to identify which developers and publishers are actually the same company or are an offshoot of an existing company.

Anyway, in terms of collecting the raw data here is my methodology:

1. Try and remember as many games that I’ve owned that have been (a) played a lot, (b) finished and/or (c) really liked.
2. Record the release date, developer and publisher for each of the games remembered
3. Created PivotTables to record the counts of each of the developers or publishers
4. Merged developers or publishers who were actually the same company or offshoots and their associated counts.
5. Selected the top 10 out of these lists

At the end of the exercise I ended up with 343 games, 42 publishers (who published more than one game) and 50 developers (who developed more than one game). The games I’ve played span from 1969 – 2011 although most were mainly focused around the early 1990s (see graph below).

Anyway my #10 pick for favourite publisher is 2K Games.

2K Games is actually one of the more recent publishers I’ve bought games from – the first one being the greatest of Civilization games so far, Civilization IV, which was released in 2005. This actually coincides with when 2K Games came into being as they were officially founded in 2005 when Take-Two Interactive acquired developer Visual Concepts and it subsidiary Kush games from Sega.

The biggest cash cow for 2K Games would arguably be the Civilization series. As mentioned I bought Civilization IV (2005), but what I didn’t mention was that I also bought all of its expansions! I also bought Civilization IV: Colonization (2008), as I was a fan of the 1994 original and also the most recent Civilization V (2010). Other games I’ve bought from 2K Games include the fun American Civil War Mk II game, Shattered Union (2005); the sci-fi FPS, Prey (2006); the FPS/RPG hybrid, Borderlands (2009) and the open-world mafia game, Mafia II (2010).

Considering 2K publishes games for developers like Firaxis, Illusion Softworks (now known as 2K Czech) and Irrational Games, it’s likely I’ll be buying more games from them in the future. In fact, two X-COM games, XCOM and XCOM: Enemy Unknown will be released by 2K Games in 2012-2013.