According to Metacritic, Microsoft has been crowned the top publisher of 2011. The website compiled their data and released it in their yearly top publishers list.
Microsoft took home the top spot with Forza 4 as their top ranked retail title, and Iron Brigade as their top original title. Incredibly, the company was the only major game publisher to finish 2011 with a "green" average Metascore (75 or higher). Microsoft's 2011 finish was quite the leap compared to 2010's where they finished fourth on the list.
Below is the formula Metacritic used to decide the top spot:
Rather than try to compare smaller publishers to giant ones, we have once again divided all publishers into two separately ranked groups, based on the number of games they released during the last calendar year. Our first group consists of major publishers, who each issued 15 or more unique titles (with Metascores) during 2011. We have ranked these publishers in order from best overall game quality to worst, using a formula based on four factors:
Average Metascore for all Scored Releases - 2011
% of products with good reviews (Metascore of at least 75)
% of products with bad reviews (49 or lower; in this case, a lower % is better)
Number of "great" titles (Metascore of 90 or higher)
In addition, Nintendo took home the second spot with Zelda as their top title. Rounding out the top three was Sony who improved substantially over their 2010 finish.
The entire list of top publishers can be seen by clicking here.