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WoW scores Blizzard lead in 'top developers' poll

Grand Theft Auto steals Rockstar top three position

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World of Warcraft, Wii Fit and Grand Theft Auto IV are just some of titles that helped ensure top-ten rankings for their respective development firms in this year’s Develop100 poll.

The annual list – described by compiler and gaming magazine Develop as the world’s top 100 most bankable games development studios – saw WoW firm Blizzard take the top spot. In 2008, the firm only ranked 47th, but its release of WoW update Wrath of the Lich King in November 2008 contributed somewhat to the firm’s success this year.

Nintendo won’t be happy though, because it’s dropped from first place in last year’s poll to second place this time around.

The firm will have to be content with the recently announced full-year financial figures, which saw it rake in ¥279.1bn (£1.8bn/$2.8bn/€2.1bn) and shift over 50m Wiis.

Rockstar North didn’t feature in the list last year, but its latest Grand Theft Auto instalment - GTA IV - is undoubtedly one of the main reasons that it snapped up third place in this year’s poll.

The Develop100 chart is based on several factors, including sales of physical product and take-up of online gaming services, and a developer's industry standing.

Gears of War development studio Epic Games rose from position 45 last year to achieve ninth place this time around. But it was outdone by Capcom, which moved up ten spaces to fifth position.

If you remember Worms then you’ll remember Team 17, which sadly slipped from 79th to 84th position.

Other notable movers and shakers include Valve, famous for the Half-Life series and which rose from spot 58 last year to 21 this time around. Perhaps the use of its games as a fire safety tool scored it some points?

Bungie – of Marathon, Myth and Halo fame – dropped from the eighth spot to position 53 this year. That’s despite a promise that Halo 3: Recon is in development, though it will have been affected by its departure from Microsoft.

The full Develop100 chart is available online. ®

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