The video game business was not nearly as profitable almost half a century ago as it is today. You probably wouldn’t recognize it because coders back then didn’t make much money and didn’t get much credit for their efforts.
Worse, it nearly always came at the cost of recognition and infamy, since the media frequently portrayed video games negatively.
Fast forward to now, and the one thing that hasn’t changed is the media’s unfavorable image of video games.
We decided to go a little further and see exactly how huge the video game business has become as it becomes richer by the second.
Below are the world’s wealthiest video game creators, the minds behind the games we all love, who have seen their investments pay off in the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The World’s Wealthiest Video Game Developers [Updated 2021]
11. 2K Games
Starting off our list is perhaps one of the most polarizing gaming studios, owing to the widespread belief that 2K’s sole purpose is to cash in on their sports simulation games.
A deeper glance at their portfolio, however, reveals that 2K Games is responsible for some of today’s most well-known gaming games.
Let’s not forget that Rockstar Games is officially a division of 2K Games. This implies that, among other things, we owe 2K Games for the popular Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption series.
It’s simple to understand how and why 2K Games is so enormous, given that Grand Theft Auto V has raked in more than $6 billion in revenue since its debut earlier this decade.
Gearbox Software, the creators of the Borderlands franchise, is another 2K Games developer.
2K Games does not deserve their bad image, especially with so many amazing games behind them.
Capcom has managed to stay relevant for the better part of a half-century, with titles ranging from Street Fighter to Devil May Cry and Resident Evil, as well as a slew of other lesser-known titles and brands in between.
Even better, Capcom has recovered from a shaky start to the decade, owing in large part to the popularity of recent Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, and Monster Hunter installments.
Capcom’s position as one of the richest video game makers is safe, with the success of future versions all but assured, as well as the prospect of resurrecting dormant IPs.
Ubisoft was founded in 1986 by five brothers, with Yves Guillemot at the lead, and has since ascended the long and difficult journey to becoming a gaming industry behemoth. Ubisoft may be on their path to being as huge as Electronic Arts, Sony, and Microsoft, despite the fact that they still have a long way to go.
This is primarily due to Ubisoft’s astute business decisions and lucrative franchises. This includes their purchase of the South Park IP from THQ, as well as their involvement in some of the most well-known video game franchises of the last decade.
Ubisoft is the company behind fan favorites like Assassin’s Creed and Watch Dogs, as well as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six and The Division.
These are all household names in the business, which explains how they’ve risen to such prominence.
Given how eagerly each version of the aforementioned titles is anticipated year after year, Ubisoft’s net worth should continue to rise.
Valve, although being responsible for some of the most commercially successful and critically renowned games such as Half-Life, Portal, Counter-Strike, and Dota 2, isn’t among the richest video game creators, with a reported valuation of just $4 billion.
Valve’s success may be attributed to their development of video games as well as their own distribution platform, Steam.
Talk about cashing in on a trend, King is arguably the least well-known of our list’s game creators. They are, however, one of the wealthiest due to how well they capitalized on the popularity of Candy Crush Saga.
In 2012, King produced the ultimate game at the perfect time. Simple gaming principles were merged with social connectivity and an addictive leveling system in Candy Crush Saga.
Not to mention, they were one of the few that saw the potential in introducing micro-transactions that were more of a bonus than a must.
As a result, over a decade later, Candy Crush Saga is still as popular as it was when it first came out.
If there’s one thing we can learn from King, it’s that making billions from the gaming business doesn’t require several games. One game is all you need if you do it correctly.
Nintendo was a pioneer in the video game business. Nintendo has successfully navigated its way in and out of Japan to become perhaps the reason why the video game industry is where it is today, despite the fact that the firm began as a card maker more than a decade ago.
Most firms avoided the gaming sector like the plague after the 1982 crisis, but Nintendo did not. Instead, they published the original Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System, which is seen by many as the game that resurrected interest in the industry.
Nintendo has continued to produce games that have evolved into franchises that most of us have grown up with since then.
Nintendo’s other successful properties, in addition to the Mario Brothers, are The Legend of Zelda, Star Fox, and Donkey Kong, among others. From the Gamecube through the Wii to their most recent product, the Switch, they’ve delivered equally popular and very inventive platforms.
Nintendo might very well be alive and active in the future century, thanks to a slew of popular releases.
5. Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts, another of the old guard, is still as vital now as it was in the past.
Electronic Arts, unlike some of the earlier video game makers, is seen as a villain rather than a hero in the industry. This is mostly due to their business decisions and the methods by which they have decided to monetize several of their titles.
Despite its flaws, EA is credited with popularizing the yearly release cycle, which many sports games still follow today.
EA has bought a number of studios and brought them under its tent, in addition to the success of each of their sports titles. DICE (Battlefield) and Respawn Entertainment are among them (Titanfall).
EA has also collaborated with Disney on the release of all Star Wars video games to date.
Electronic Arts should be set for life just based on the fact that they were able to clinch such a contract.
When you include in their countless other popular and valuable intellectual assets, it’s clear that EA will be sleeping in a bed of money long after their harshest detractors have died away.
4. Activision Blizzard
In the perspective of many gamers, Electronic Arts is Public Enemy #1, but Activision Blizzard is right up there with them. People can’t stop playing these games, just like they can’t stop playing Electronic Arts’ games.
Activision Blizzard currently owns some of the most successful gaming properties ever thanks to their collaboration. The Call of Duty and Destiny franchises, as well as World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Overwatch, are examples of this.
While Activision Blizzard has had its share of unsuccessful attempts (we’re looking at you, Heroes of the Storm), the company has the financial resources to rebound.
Plus, given the predicted success of future Call of Duty games, as well as the highly anticipated Diablo sequel, Diablo IV, it’ll be a long time before this firm disappears from such lists.
3. Sony Entertainment
Sony Entertainment is easily one of the most well-known names in the gaming business, and it presently holds multiple industry records. All four PlayStation generations are in the top seven best-selling systems of all time, with the PlayStation 2 topping the list with 155 million copies sold.
Sony’s success may be attributed in great part to the company’s numerous first-party titles. Many of their platforms’ most popular games are exclusive.
This implies that to play games like Uncharted and The Last of Us, as well as previous PlayStation-exclusive series like Red Dead Redemption and Metal Gear Solid, gamers will have no choice except to buy a PlayStation.
With the PlayStation 5 projected to be just as popular as the PlayStation 4, if not even more so, Sony Entertainment’s dominance in the console industry should continue.
Tencent is the mobile equivalent of Sony, which is the king of the console sector.
Tencent’s net worth has risen to $48 billion as of April 2020, having already purchased pretty much every other major mobile game producer.
Tencent owns holdings in a number of gaming firms in addition to its investments in the mobile gaming market. This includes Riot Games, the creators of League of Legends, which they control 100 percent of, as well as Epic Games, which they hold 40 percent of.
While most gamers are unaware of Tencent, it appears that it will only be a matter of time until the company becomes the largest and wealthiest gaming developer in the world.
Remember how we said Tencent will become the richest gaming company in the future? That’s not true. It is unlikely to occur in our lifetimes. What is the explanation behind this? Microsoft.
Microsoft is not just one of the world’s wealthiest video game producers, but also one of the world’s wealthiest corporations.
Microsoft is physically wealthier than most first-world countries, with a net value estimated to be well over $1 trillion. Unlike the majority of the firms on our list, though, Microsoft did not make the majority of its money from video games.
Despite the fact that the Xbox has had a lot of success since its inception in the early 2000s, Microsoft still generates the majority of its money from product and service sales.
So, the next time someone tells you that video games aren’t profitable, simply show them this list.
While we’ve only included the wealthiest video game creators, there are lots of other success stories from smaller developers who have built a career off their passion for gaming.