What Publishers Do You Respect?

I know at first glance this may sound like an odd question. We all know that the consensus among many gamers is that publishers are evil, money-grubbing scrooges who feast on the bones of developer's children and the like. I tend to think that about more than a few myself. However, when you've been gaming for a long time, you start to see patterns in the titles they release and how they tend to act as a company. I was thinking recently about the publishers that more often than not, I find worthy of my general respect as a gamer. These are companies that are definitely not perfect, but when I give them my money for one of their titles, I feel like I'm generally supporting a company that does good for gaming. I'm curious what other people think in this regard. Here are my picks for publishers I respect

Ubisoft: Have released a number of top-notch titles, definitely more good than bad; tend to support their releases (including the commercial failures) after launch with patches and community involvement; their titles, even the successful ones tend to have price drops quickly; often release niche titles that they know won't sell huge such as the Maddox flight simulators or the Silent Hunter series; rarely do platform exclusives.
Take-Two: Gives their internal studios wide creative freedom; stands up for their teams and their games even in the face of overwhelming negative press; most of their games are released in good shape, rarely needing excessive patching; their Joytech brand makes one kick-ass AV switch.
Nintendo: With rare exception, releases fantastic, fun, super-polished games; has supported innovative ideas and concepts in hardware throughout their history; definitely doesn't go with what's "safe and comfortable"; I find myself liking their games more for their pure fun value than for other more abstract traits.
Microsoft Game Studios: Rarely releases a title that isn't polished and in good shape; has not had many games that have been of poor overall quality, is generally well-respected among developers; tends to let majority of their developers retain their IP rights.

Those tend to be my top picks. Not one of these companies is perfect and in fact, they are all far from it, but I find them to be among the better at what they do and they tend to get more of my business than others. I have several publishers I respect that are no longer around, but I won't bother with those. I also have several such as EA, Atari, Vivendi & Eidos who I will occasionally buy games from, but generally don't hold in high regard, but those are for another discussion.

Overall, my preference is to always show support for the developers more than the publishers as they are the ones with the creative vision who actually make the games we enjoy. However, many of the games we love the most would not have been made were it not for a publisher's involvement and those that tend to excel more at the trade I will tip my hat to. What do you all think?

After thinking about it, I really like all of your picks, and I can't think of a publisher that I would add to it. There are several that I own games from, but I wouldn't say that I necessarily respect them.

Blizzard? THQ has gotten tons better too.

I would add Blizzard and THQ to the list, and I believe there may be a few more that I can't think of off the top of my head.

I would also put Ubisoft on probation for the issues starting to crop up with their 360 titles (the lamented poor implementation of the GRAW DLC in particular), but with the statement that I hope that these are hiccups and Ubisoft will be back in great shape soon enough.

I'd actually forgotten about THQ. Relic's been cranking out some awesome stuff (well, The Outfit was meh) and they've got some neat stuff in the pipe. Saint's Row was pretty good, but it still has some recurring bug (like falling through the world) that still ticks me off. I'd give Blizzard and honourable mention I guess, but they are a division of Vivendi Games so I was associating with them. They do operate somewhat autonomously though so I guess they'd count.

I would second: Nintendo, Ubisoft, Blizzard (as long as they release Diablo 3)

And add: Konami, Square Enix

Square Enix I'd agree with. I don't play many of their games, but they usually put out solid stuff. Konami I don't know. They've put out Metal Gear and a bunch of awesome stuff to be sure, but they've put out a lot of crap in the last couple of years. I'm trying to remember this terrible PC game they released...something where you were like this Gears of War type warrior, but you're supposedly were killing for holy purposes or something. It got like 20% ratings on average and both developers went out of business. I hope they start to turn it around in this generation.

Valve, Blizzard (do they self publish?), and iD (or Activision, really) do a great job of post release support. Valve in particular has my respect for releasing HL2:DM, free of charge, when they damn well know they could have sold it.

Valve gets my #1 vote. Talk about a developer/publisher who has paid back the fans, cultivated the mod community, and put their success to good use in almost every area that affects gamers. Aside from HL2 launch problems, Steam has been the smoothest of any downloadable content provider save maybe the iTunes Store. I've seen the data collected from Steam put to good use (making their games better).

Nintendo is still the heart and soul of our hobby. They are the Apple of video games. I'm fully confident that when Miyamoto retires, I'll still see excellent games from the Big N.

Microsoft seems to do as much retarded as they do right. However, given Gears of War and Viva Pinata, I have new faith in the quality of their 1st and 2nd party titles. The 360 needs an update, though, to a smaller console that doesn't sound like a jet engine.

Sony embodies this recent Onion article: Holiday Advertisers Seek Coveted Dicktard Demographic.

Activision - not bad for the group that is always 2nd to EA. They've done excellent jobs with comic franchises, Call of Duty, and id software. Bravo.

Ubisoft - Ubi lost major points for their less-than-stellar handling of Splinter Cell, Rainbow Six, and Prince of Persia. Still, this is the home of Assassin's Creed and Rayman, so I say they've still got soul.

EA reminds me of the RIAA. Evil. Not selfish, not overly focused on profit, just evil.

I have nothing new to add but here's my list anyway:

Nintendo, THQ, Valve, Blizzard, Activision

How do you mean with regards to Ubisoft's handling of Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell souldaddy? I wasn't impressed with Warrior Within, but I thought the first and third games were good. Pandora Tomorrow wasn't as good, but I though the rest were OK.

Blizzard isn't a publisher so they don't count.

Nintendo treats their properties very well. Usually as bug free as games get and they do a decent job marketing and distributing them.

Sony has a great publishing wing, they have solid talent, they polish their games well and market the hell out of them.

Microsoft is improving by leaps and bounds from the early Xbox days in terms of the quality of their releases. They have always been amazing in terms of their relationship with the developers giving them all the support they need.

Ubisoft has some of the worst QA I've ever seen, especially on the PC side of things. If they started to actually test their software I'd have more respect for them.

THQ pumps out far too much cheapo shovelware for me to respect them.

EA, no. Just no.

Vivendi/Sierra are ok, they don't do much to really offend me but some things, like the recent adventure collections are baffling.

Atari/Infogrames is quite possibly the worst publisher out there right now. Their games are always rushed, sloppy and poorly marketed. They are really really bad.

Capcom are full of win and awesome, total kudos from me.

Konami don't put out anything that interests me, but for people who like their product it is all of the highest quality. Well except for their disney extreme sports stuff... yeck.

Atlus rocks super hard. They take smaller projects that normally would never see the light of day over here, give them some of the finest localizations seen in Japanese to American conversions and do their best to get them out there. Good good stuff.

Activision is embarassing themselves with their next gen development. Almost uniformly sloppy across the board.

SEGA is a complete wreck right now, just atrocious.

That's all the major ones I can think of. Some of my most hated died off (Ack!Lame and 3DO, though the Acclaim name has been revived for MMOs) but really I don't care much about the publishers. My respect goes out to the developers themselves.

Blizzard
Relic

Everyone else has to earn it.

I tend to look at developers more than publishers. I really wish the Ubisoft games would be labelled by which teams had a hand in them, and specifically which parts of the game regarding multiplayer and singleplayer. As a whole entity I would paint Ubisoft as EA's better half, but still plagued by the issues that crop up when an organization becomes too large.

Im with Danjo. I dont like how so much of the attention, praise, even blame ends up on the publishers. As a group they've carved themselves out too much credit for what they do, too much sway over the games and I hope to see more good developers grow independent as distribution becomes easier, giving them the recognition they deserve, and the rewards they've earned.

Paradox Interactive..... Still patches up and improve, 3-4 year old games. Their game launches might be a bit buggy, but thats because of the scope of their game(Usually very AI heavy games).. I for one tend to overlook it, because i know things will be better after a while...

Matrix Games..... The same

Jowood. I generaly stay away from. The Guild 2 and Gothic 3 must be the most buggy game launches ever. They also tend to release one or 2 patches and thats it. To bad really, because they have some very nice game ideas

Atari: Well neverwinter night 2 support looks great. Other than that i tend to stay away.

I second Paradox Interactive. Not only do they really listen to their fanbase and patch things accordingly, but they don't use copy protection. Not even CD check. Kudos to that. Yet still they make enough money to publish not only their games, but also niche, hardcore strategy games from other developers.

I would also add Ubisoft for taking risk with great, if underrated or niche games (Beyond Good and Evil, XIII, Silent Hunter III). However, their copy protection is freaking me out. No more CD checks, please!

souldaddy wrote:

Valve gets my #1 vote. Talk about a developer/publisher who has paid back the fans, cultivated the mod community, and put their success to good use in almost every area that affects gamers. Aside from HL2 launch problems, Steam has been the smoothest of any downloadable content provider save maybe the iTunes Store. I've seen the data collected from Steam put to good use (making their games better).

Nintendo is still the heart and soul of our hobby. They are the Apple of video games. I'm fully confident that when Miyamoto retires, I'll still see excellent games from the Big N.

Wow Souldaddy, two Apple related references in one post. Do they give you a quota?

Atari is really good... bwahahaha!!!
Sorry, I couldn't go through with it.

I agree with Parallax's view on Publishers, but definitely push Valve to the top of that list, if only for giving me access to Halflife 2 and Red Orchestra.

I would consider Valve a publisher at this point as well so I will add them to my list. I totally forgot about Atlus as well! I have been very impressed with a lot of what they have put out lately, even if they are games that do not interest me much. Trauma Center is totally awesome on both the Wii and DS. I would also give out props to Working Designs for a similar approach to giving niche foreign titles a release in the US, but unfortunately they went under a while ago. With Konami, I would say I respect certain teams within them such as Kojima Productions, but as a publisher they have been very hit or miss in the last couple of years. Apocalyptica was that horrible PC game I was thinking of. It is so bad, they have completely struck any reference of it even existing from their web site.

SirRockford wrote:

Wow Souldaddy, two Apple related references in one post. Do they give you a quota? ;-)

I don't normally remember, the shock therapy is a little distracting.

Parallax Abstraction wrote:

How do you mean with regards to Ubisoft's handling of Prince of Persia and Splinter Cell souldaddy? I wasn't impressed with Warrior Within, but I thought the first and third games were good. Pandora Tomorrow wasn't as good, but I though the rest were OK.

Sorry, PA, I missed that. All of those series started strong and had some terrible games in the mix. Their franchises aren't consistent. It's getting to the point that I don't trust the reviews anymore, everyone loved SC: Double Agent but I probably would have been happier just renting it. I thought PoP: Sands of Time was one of the best adventure games I've ever played (minus the combat of course), the sequels were dumb. After the last SC and Rainbow Six (with all its bugs) I might not get Ubi games on launch day, and that's the first step to not buying them at all.

On top of that is Ubi's horrible customer service and the botched handling of my scratched GRAW discs, which is still not resolved after 3 months. I will not forget.

What happened with their service and your GRAW disc? If the 360 scratched it, it was actually up to Ubisoft and not Microsoft to replace it?