AAA Games – What does ‘AAA’ mean?
AAA Games – What does ‘AAA’ mean?
Triple-A games or AAA games are named as such out of habit more than it is an acronym. It’s not because they spend Absolutely Astounding Amounts, even though they do 🙂
Generally speaking, it’s a game with a massive budget. AAA means nothing about the game itself, other than the amount of money spent by the publisher.
The publishers see it as a positive, they’re willing to bet AAA money on a title. Problem is that it leads to them expecting to make AAA profits. Ace of Ass-kicking Amusement. As widely known as AAA.
The term used to be a classification refering to a large offten multi-company effort. It was effectivly a size/scale of project reference.
Now days it tends to mean ‘not indie’ but even this isn’t quite right.
If we define indie … initally that meant ‘self published’ e.g. indapendently developed, produced and published. But by that standard that would make any game developed by EA (not one of its child studios) an indie game; which is not what people mean when they say ‘indie’, such a game would be called ‘AAA’.
So when people say ‘AAA’ what they really mean is some big group had the controllign factor in making this.
When they say ‘indie’ what they really mean is some small group or otherwise new to the industry group (if only in name) had the controlling factor in making this.
The line gets rather blurry though … many ‘indie’ games actually have big names behind them in the publishing and promotions department such as Cuphead, No Man’s Sky, etc. And companies like Bethesda, CCP, etc. are considered AAA but not usually compared to EA, Activision, etc. in terms of size/scale.
AAA game are games which development require:
- First A lot of time.
- A lot of resources.
- A lot of money.
(AAA). Projects like that, use to be done for big market projections to make them rentable, due to their expensive costs, they are considered high-risk projects so they can’t be done in whatever circumstances, game, nor company.
Because when those games fail in the market, the consequences use to be meaningful. But in exchange, after much effort, the normal is achieve a game of high quality.
AAA games are classified as such based on the budget, size of the studio, and/or the size of the publisher. The AAA classification is closely related to sports terminology for minor league play.
For example, the MLB farm system of minor league teams comprises three levels A, AA, and AAA. Single-A teams are for those that are new recruits that show early promise but don’t have either the necessary experience or coaching to be proven successful at more talented and competitive levels.
By comparison Triple A (AAA) teams are basically professionals, with many being on the doorstep of being called up, or have been dropped down due to things like injury or age.
So AAA games are from studios or publishers with a lot of money, talent, and histories behind them such as Rockstar, Bethesda, Activision/Blizzard, Ubisoft, and EA.
or failure of this,
In the early days, a publisher graded the games in their portfolio with simple a code.
“A” titles were made by an in-house team, under direct control of an experienced producer, with high quality standards and often a new IP or sequel to a previous hit. The majors.
“B” titles were lesser titles, made by 3rd party teams, elsewhere, supervised by associate producers. Farm league.
“C” products were add-on content like new maps, editors, soundtracks, clue books, ports, or compilations.
Marketers could see a list of games in progress and plan ad budgets. As marketers often do, they began amplifying so the bigger of two “A” titles became “double A”. The idea spread and eventually grew to include triple-A.
I think in many ways, AAA is the gaming industry equivalent of “blockbuster movies” in Hollywood. We don’t really have a standard for ‘blockbuster” movies in budget, promotion or quality.
We have a general impression that these blockbuster movies are created with a high budget, casting high profile actors, backed by the studio with full promotional effort, some might go for the Oscar but that’s not always the case, and they’re released in one of the two “blockbuster” seasons (summer and holiday season).
Translate to gaming industry, a AAA title means it is a multi-million budget (sometimes billion dollar budget) production; it is created by one of prestigious studios; it is backed by its publisher with full promotional efforts.
Friends, it often is (but not necessarily) part of a successful franchise; it is released in one of the game seasons (early in the year and holiday season, surprisingly, summer wasn’t a big release season for games).
Does this speaks “high quality”? Yes, an AAA title is (at least intended to be) a high-quality game with a full studio (sometimes multiple studios) working on it for a full production cycle (3 years minimum, often goes up to 5–7 years).
Does this effort translate into a high-quality product?
90% of the time, yes, it does. You might not like the game, you might think there’re a lot of design issues, you might think they should do more with QA (I’m looking at you AC: Unity), but the intent and general result is a high quality, top of the line game.
There’s no dollar amount attach to “AAA” title. There’s no agreed upon standards as to “satisfy these conditions, you will be considered a AAA title”, no, there’s no such thing. And there are titles that kind of walk on the edge.
They’re good games, but not quite AAA (Telltale Games titles, for example, are great games, but usually not considered AAA title).
In the end, it’s just a name, like blockbuster movies, people throwing around. As consumers, it shouldn’t matter.
In the video game industry, an AAA game (usually pronounced “triple A game”) is an informal classification used for games with the highest development and marketing budgets; as a consequence AAA game development can be considered to have a high economic risk, with high levels of sales required to obtain profitability.
Triple A games (also known as AAA) are simple games (console or PC) that were developed under the highest development budget of that current time AND are highest promoted.
The ranking has nothing to do with how good/bad the game is. It can completely tank in terms of sales. It’s all about the allocated budget and promotion of the game. Though in most cases, a Triple A game will gross some pretty high sales numbers.
It’s the difference between Fallout 4 and Mount & Blade II. One is extremely well known and the other you’ve likely never heard of.
Aside from Triple-A (which is the highest level), there is AA, A, B, and C.
It should be stated that indie games are exempt from this ranking system as most indie games have a very low budget and/or are not heavily advertised.
Triple-A games or AAA games are named as such out of habit more that it being an acronym. It’s not because they spend Absolutely Astounding Amounts, even though they do 🙂
Generally speaking it’s a game with a massive budget. AAA means nothing about the game itself, other than the amount of money spent by the publisher.
The publishers see it as a positive, they’re willing to bet AAA money on a title. Problem is that it leads to them expecting to make AAA profits.
Some people say it’s based on the bond credit rating where AAA is the top credit rating.
Triple-A just means they spent a lot on it and its marketing. It can still be crap, though 🙂
AAA Games ‘AAA’ mean Triple-A games