In Analysis, Distribution

Video Game Industry Market Leaders

The game industry is obsessed with lists of what is the biggest and the best. In most cases the focus is on the games themselves and the companies that develop and publish those games. Of course, this is because these are the rock stars of the industry who are most familiar to the general consumer. However, a new report from DFC, The Business of Video Games, looks behind the scenes to where the power truly lies and where money is really being made.

It is easy to throw out numbers about the size of the game industry and how huge it is has grown and likely will continue to grow. The issue in the game industry is the focus on revenue and market share often comes at the expense of profitability. Furthermore, a current position at the top of software sales has proven to be an unstable one as on the software side the game industry is a hits driven business.

To understand how companies are positioned in the marketplace DFC Intelligence has developed a custom ranking system that uses over 30 criteria beyond pure revenue and market share. While there are many factors that come into this ranking, it basically comes down to 1) control of distribution channel; 2) geographic diversity; 3) overall size, game industry size, diversification beyond games, stability and 4) future growth potential.

The Business of Video Games report looks at over 50 companies but in the spirit of doing lists we thought we would present a list of the top 10 most important companies in the game industry as of April 2016.

DFC Intelligence • April 2016

Top 10 Market Leaders in the Video Game Industry

Rank Company Notes
1 Alphabet Inc A strong presence in most categories with major future potential
2 Apple Leader in hardware, distribution and mobile can disrupt any market it goes after
3 Sony Very cyclical but on an upcycle
4 Valve Steam service means leadership in PC game distribution
5 Activision Blizzard Publishing leader on all platforms after King acquisition
6 Microsoft On a major downward trend but still has PC OS opportunity with Windows
7 Nintendo Declining game pioneer cannot be counted out
8 Amazon Hardware, distribution and growing focus means major potential
9 Electronic Arts Publishing leader that has failed to live up to potential
10 Tencent Revenue plus profitability do not quite offset weakness outside China

Of course, the first thing many observers will note is that the top two companies, Google and Apple, are not known for their game business. However, both companies have major control over the distribution channels for mobile. In addition these companies play in the hardware business and are looking to expand into streaming services on the television. Google and Apple have enormous resources and they are better equipped than other companies to make moves in the game space if they so choose.

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Most of the other companies on the list should not come as a major surprise. Of course, the only Asian company on the list is Tencent who is often somewhat misrepresented as the largest game publisher/developer. Tencent is a true media powerhouse but only in their home market of China. Tencent’s expansion into North America and Europe has been weak outside of the acquisition of Riot Games.

Certainly, this list needs to be adjusted on a regular basis. Nintendo launching a successful product would up its impact because it would change consumer behavior on a significant level. Then there are companies close to making the list such as Japan’s Softbank who leads among potential investors. In short stay tuned and if you would like to see how your company would rank feel free to contact us.

Also contact us at if you would like to obtain a copy of our latest free game industry brief based on this report.

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