Sony is 2022’s highest-rated publisher despite only making 4 new games

Opinion by Lee Brady,

Sony has been crowned the highest-rated game publisher of 2022, despite a low amount of original game releases.

In 2022, Sony published some of the best PS5 games they've ever made — the word "masterpiece" was bandied around our God of War Ragnarok review and our The Last of Us Part I review, which should be some indication. That said, can we call Sony the best game publisher of 2022 if they only published 4 new games last year?

KratosKratos takes Sony to conflicted critical glory.

Does Sony deserve to be the highest-rated game publisher of 2022?

Sony topped Metacritic's 2022 Game Publisher Rankings off the back of 10 distinct and well-reviewed titles — but what did the publisher actually release in 2022? Well, in terms of original titles, we got four entries: Horizon Forbidden West, Gran Turismo 7, MLB The Show 22, and, of course, God of War Ragnarok.

The Last of Us Part I was a PS5 textural remaster of the original 2013 game, so that doesn't count as an original title, though it did count as one of Sony's "great" games on Metacritic's count, scoring it higher points in the ranking. The remaining five titles counted by Metacritic were all ports: Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection for PS5; Marvel's Spider-Man Miles Morales, Marvel's Spider-Man Remastered, God of War, and Sackboy A Big Adventure for PC.

Sony 2Metacritic's ranking.

Now, there's no question that 2022 was a strong year for Sony's PlayStation Studios line-upGod of War Ragnarok was a Game of the Year contender, and while we weren't as firm with our praise in our Horizon Forbidden West review and our Gran Turismo 7 review, these titles are still some of the year's biggest and best releases. But as PS5 owners, Sony fans, and life-long PlayStation gamers, can we really say Sony deserved to be crowned the best game publisher of 2022?

I'll speak personally here, but looking back at last year — a year in which Sony published four original games, one being an annual sports game (its worst received of the year) and zero being new IPs — to me, Sony just don't deserve to be called the best publisher of 2022. It was a year that saw Sony play it exceptionally safe with its releases, and while we can be pleased that the strategy seemingly paid off for the publisher, there's no crime in expecting the company behind PlayStation to take a few more publishing risks with its strong market position and oodles of cash.

Sony2022's ranking definitely called Spider-Man for help.

We can look at Microsoft not even making Metacritic's list due to a lack of releases and say, "well, at least PlayStation did better than Xbox," but is that the embarrassing low bar we want Sony to strive to beat? Nintendo published over 10 new original titles last year, and while it too had zero new IPs and took very few risks, at least it made up for that relative safety with a bevvy of fresh content. It wasn't all everyone's cup of tea, but would PS5 players thumb their nose at Sony's equivalent of Nintendo Switch Sports or Mario Strikers Battle League — a few cheaper 7/10 games that give PS5 players a few more options?

Looking at the upcoming PS5 and PS4 games of 2023, it already seems this year's greatest risks are likely already behind us now that Sony's PS VR2 is out there, supported largely by developers other than Sony. We might take for granted a little how much Sony is investing in other publishers — Final Fantasy XVI certainly looks exceptional — but other than that, what are we getting from Sony in 2023? Now that MLB The Show 23 is out, that leaves Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Stellar Blade, and Horizon Forbidden West Burning Shores DLC as our only remaining confirmed 2023 releases.

SonyThis is what Stellar Blade is, in case you forgot.

The year is still young — with Spider-Man 2 reportedly aiming for a September release, last year's Ragnarok November spot could be claimed by a surprise summer announcement that will blow people's minds. Then, with one or two exceptionally strong games and a backlog of new PC ports, Metacritic can hail Sony as the best game publisher of 2023.

Personally, I just don't see Sony earning it in 2023 either. 2023 might be a great year for PS5 owners — so far it has been — but in terms of Sony's offerings as a publisher? It just feels way too similar to last year; if you don't vibe with Spider-Man or the hack-and-slash-y Stellar Blade, and you're not really enjoying the tech demo feel of Horizon Call of the Mountain, then what has Sony got for you?

SonyThe answer is Horizon Burning Shores.

Video games are capable of so much, and Sony is more suited than any to experiment and bring those new experiences to us, but right now we're just not really seeing any of that. I would love to be convinced otherwise, to feel genuinely surprised by something Sony unveils later this year. It would be wonderful to see the publisher use its wealth to bring us a generosity of new ideas that make this era of PlayStation feel special in some way. Or, at the absolute least, if we could get a year with more than four new games on PS5, that would be something worth considering.
Lee Brady
Written by Lee Brady
Staff Writer Lee keeps one eye on the future (Marvel's Spider-Man 2, Final Fantasy VII Rebirth), one eye on the past (PS Plus Premium, recent Sony news), and his secret third eye on the junk he really likes (Sonic Superstars, Final Fantasy XVI). Then he uses his big mouth to blurt out long-winded opinions about video games.
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