Which video game companies are the best in Europe? It’s a tough question to answer, especially considering all the metrics one could use to define what success means. You could use net profit as an indicator, sure, but what about customer satisfaction? Player retention? We’ve considered as many aspects of successful game development as possible to bring you the five best-performing European companies.
If you can’t wait for games to come out soon, keeping an eye on these developers may provide insight you wouldn’t get anywhere else. Whether its product line-ups or development updates, these companies are well-known for their transparency, consistency, and high standard of product quality.
Created by one of Ubisoft’s five founding members, Michel Guillemot, Gameloft is a French studio headquartered in Paris, France. The company operates in 19 development studios worldwide, mainly publishing games that are targeted at the mobile gaming market.
By the beginning of 2009, Gameloft’s focus on mobile gaming led to over 2 million daily downloads on Apple’s App Store alone. Compared to Google Play, App Store revenue was far more lucrative for the studio, leading to approximately 400% more sales by comparison. According to Gameloft CFO, Alexandre de Rochefort, this disparity was the reason why Gameloft has avoided selling games on Google Play from 2010 onwards.
Owing to what many deem was a hostile takeover, Gameloft became a subsidiary of French media conglomerate Vivendi in June of 2016. Since then, the studio has undergone numerous changes to staff and management. With several new mobile games released over the past year, these changes don’t appear to have affected Gameloft’s production capacity.
Jagex Limited currently owns the world’s largest free-to-play MMO RPG games. Runescape and Old School Runescape, together account for over 2 million daily players, more than any other MMO on the market.
Based in Cambridge, England, Jagex has been owned by several parent companies over the last decade. From 2012 to 2016 it was owned by US investors, Chinese investors took over from 2016 to 2020, and Macarthur Fortune Holding held it for a year in 2020. Jagex is currently owned by the Carlyle Group, an American multinational corporation.
Aside from its Runescape titles, Jagex has released a number of other games, both as publisher and developer. Space Punks, for example, is an isometric looter shooter currently in Early Access on the Epic Games Store.
3. Ninja Theory
Based in Cambridge, England, Ninja Theory Limited has developed several notable video games, such as Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, DmC: Devil May Cry, and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The company has made a name for itself as a relatively small development team that nonetheless produces ‘AAA’-quality video games.
Typically it would take hundreds of developers to achieve the quality of a Ninja Theory game. However, thanks to an ‘independent AAA’ business model, the team at Ninja Theory prove that high production value can be achieved despite a low budget, contrary to what most AAA developers would have you believe.
Several of their games have received auspicious awards, with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice being the most notable. Hellblade was nominated for nine awards at the 14th British Academy Games Awards, winning five awards altogether.
Thanks to hit video game franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Far Cry, and Rainbow Six, Ubisoft is one of the most widely recognized video game companies in the world. The company was founded back in 1986 by five French brothers.
The Guillemot brothers initially operated out of Paris, before the head studio was eventually founded in Montreuil in 1994. By the end of that year, Ubisoft became the largest distributor of video games in France. Within two years, the company had expanded to multiple studios worldwide.
At present, Ubisoft owns at least 50 subsidiaries, making it one of the largest video game companies in the world. The company is considered a pioneer in many aspects of video game development, such as graphics engines, multimedia partnerships, and digital rights management.
Wargaming Group Limited is behind some of the biggest military-themed games currently available, such as World of Tanks, World of Warships, and World of Warplanes. Founded in Minsk in August 1998, Wargaming currently operates out of 20 different studios across the globe, with the largest one being the original Minsk studio.
Initially, Wargaming was a company focused on turn-based strategy and real-time strategy games. However, the company switched to free-to-play online action games in 2009, leading to the release of their most successful titles to date.
The company has won numerous distinguished awards, including three Best Game Developer Awards at GDC Russia in 2009, 2010, and 2012, respectively. Interestingly, the company is also heavily involved in a number of military cultural heritage preservation projects, such as the restoration of one of four remaining Australian AC-1 Sentinel tanks.
We could go on all day about which video game company is the best in Europe, but it’s not really our place to say. Instead, we’re going to leave that up to you because no one knows your preferences better than you do. All we can offer are a few helpful hints for deciding what games companies are worth paying attention to if you want more success with your gaming experiences.