In February, game industry luminaries congregated en masse on two separate occasions to share ideas, schmooze, and honor the best games of 2007. For the Academy of Interactive Arts and Sciences' part, top award winners at the D.I.C.E. Summit included Infinity Ward's Call of Duty 4 and Blizzard Entertainment's World of Warcraft. Two weeks later, the Game Developers Conference counsel heaped accolades upon Valve Corp. for the deranged first-person puzzler Portal, which came packed in with The Orange Box.
Not content to just make great games, it now appears many of these award winning studios are also great places to work, according to a recent study conducted by Game Developers Conference organizers CMP Group by way of Think Services for Game Developer magazine and its Game Developer Research division. In conducting its study, Think Service combined sales and marketing stats with survey data gleaned from game developers and other professionals within the industry.
Perched atop the rankings was Nintendo's Kyoto studio, which is responsible for top-selling Nintendo DS and Wii titles Wii Sports, Wii Play, and Brain Age and its sequel. According to CMP, survey respondents called out the studio's focus on quality in particular. Coming in at second was the Activision-owned studio Infinity Ward, which was praised for its working conditions, professionalism, and attention to quality.
Rounding out the top five were World of Warcraft purveyors Blizzard Entertainment; Electronic Arts' Canada outfit, which handles FIFA Soccer 08 and NBA Street: Homecourt; and Valve, which most recently developed The Orange Box and operates the online distribution mainstay Steam.
A list of the top 20 development studios is as follows.
1. Nintendo Kyoto (Brain Age, Wii Play)
2. Infinity Ward (Call Of Duty 4: Modern Warfare)
3. Blizzard Entertainment (World of Warcraft: The Burning Crusade)
4. Electronic Arts Canada (FIFA Soccer 08, NBA Street: Homecourt)
5. Valve (Portal, Team Fortress 2)
6. Konami Japan Studio (Winning Eleven: Pro Evolution Soccer, Dance Dance Revolution Universe)
7. Insomniac Games (Ratchet & Clank Future)
8. Capcom Osaka Studio (Lost Planet: Extreme Condition, Monster Hunter Freedom)
9. Electronic Arts Tiburon (Madden NFL 08, NASCAR 08)
10. BioWare Edmonton (Mass Effect, Jade Empire: Special Edition)
11. Bungie Studios (Halo 3)
12. Ubisoft Montreal (Assassin's Creed, Naruto: Rise of a Ninja)
13. 2K Boston/Australia (BioShock)
14. Harmonix (Rock Band)
15. Bandai Namco Tokyo (Ace Combat 6: Fires of Liberation, Beautiful Katamari)
16. Square Enix Tokyo (Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, Front Mission DS)
17. Game Freak (Pokémon Diamond/Pearl)
18. Epic Games (Unreal Tournament 3, Gears of War)
19. Hudson Soft (Mario Party 8, Mario Party DS)
20. Neversoft (Guitar Hero III, Tony Hawk's Proving Ground)