Op-Ed

Op-Ed
The Escapist's Game Industry Power Rankings: Inaugural E3 Edition

Joe Blancato | 20 Jul 2007 22:21
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I'm a big sports fan - I won't lie. I watch them, I play them and I read about them. A lot of sites run what are called "power rankings," a ranking of every team in a league, which evaluates each team's chance at winning a championship relative to everyone else. As a season goes on, the power rankings change as injuries, trades and reality enters into the mix. And I thought, "Hey, the game industry is pretty competitive. Why don't we have something like this?"

And lo, The Escapist Power Rankings were born. Below, you'll find a list of 20 of the most significant players in the industry, along with five cellar-dwellers. As time goes on, I'll update the list as companies and people do things to either improve or degrade their brand.

So without further introduction, here's The Escapist's Power Ranking Inaugural Edition.

Top 20

1: Microsoft
Despite the lawsuits, the man with the biggest pockets earns the top slot by a fair margin. Microsoft has cleaned up on big-name exclusives and is slowly but surely building up Games For Windows as a brand. However, what really does it for Microsoft is Fallout 3, Halo 3, Mass Effect and BioShock. If one of those doesn't sell you a buggy, overheating, now-under-warranty Xbox 360, nothing will. Their upcoming billion-dollar 360 repair costs might dethrone them sooner than later, though.

2: EA
Walking into their E3 booth may have been like returning to Old E3 Oz, but EA's expanding in all the right directions. One of the first big developers to latch onto the Wii, EA's set to release a bevy of party and sports games onto the starving console. They've also got Rock Band, the spiritual successor to Guitar Hero 2 designed by Harmonix; Army of Two (the next Gears of War-style game); and a Simpsons game worth playing on the way.

3: Irrational
Irrational, the guys behind BioShock, haven't lost a step since the System Shock days. After an hour-long play-through, I walked out of the dark room mentally tabulating how much a new TV and 360 were going to cost me. When your game out-Fallouts Fallout 3, you have what they call cachet.

4: Bethesda
The Elder Scrolls developer looked almost as strong as Irrational at E3, and only lost the No. 3 spot by a nose. But make no mistake about it: Fallout 3 looks great and does the franchise justice. You can stop worrying, at least for now.

5: Peter Moore
Any day you get to quit your old job, where you were king of an empire, to become king of another empire, and paid $1.5 million to do it is a good day. Moore claims the move was partially motivated by wanting to return to northern California. I'm sure the $550,000 per annum with stock options didn't hurt, either.

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