What Is A Triple-A (AAA) Game?

The term triple gaming was coined in the late 90s when developers began applying these words at conferences.

We are used to saying AAA games to define a successful project going side-by-side with modern technologies when developers spend millions of dollars on its production. It’s similar to blockbusters in the film industry.

What Is A Triple-A (AAA) Game?

An AAA game is a project created by an established studio financed by a huge budget. The easiest way to understand triple-A gaming is to compare it to blockbuster movies.

Triple-A game development costs a fortune. The same goes for any new Marvel movie. However, if everything goes right, the expected profit from the endeavor completely covers the money spent on the project.

Premier blockbuster AAA games
Source: Kavuru Games. Premier AAA Games like “The Last Of Us Part II” or “Monster Hunter World”

To maximize the profit, developers create products for well-known platforms like PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, PC, or Xbox One. The only exception would be an exclusive console product. Here clients pay for exclusivity, allowing the developer to compensate for the loss of their potential profit.

How Many People Usually Work On A Triple-A Game?

Triple-A companies usually hire capacitive crowds of people to work on their projects.

It all depends on the company, but one product will need 500 to 1000+ people because most companies outsource development from other enterprises.

Game development companies hire so many people because of the colossal complexity of the process. Every team specialist works on a tiny bit of a game.

person sitting on gaming chair while playing a AAA video game
Photo by Florian Olivo. Person sitting on gaming chair while playing a AAA video game

So, for example, the project usually does not have one or two designers who assemble locations in the editor. Instead, they have one level designer to compile cottage interiors or someone who does mountains or castle interiors. And we’re not talking about one person; it’s a job for entire companies with experienced managers who know how to make things like 3D pottery and leaves.

What Makes A Triple-A Game?

The only thing you can tell about triple-A gaming is that big budgets need big profits.

So understandably, companies will not invest vast amounts of money into a product if they don’t think they will gain a substantial profit from their efforts.

Many AAA games are targeted at large audiences and often include different monetization schemes, such as microtransactions or loot boxes. So naturally, these are met with controversial opinions.

AAA Doesn’t Always Mean “Good”

However, here are the reasons why AAA games are not equal to other projects:

You will rarely see innovations

The companies do not want to risk their money and try something new. Likewise, developers don’t want to risk trying to present a new and unique gaming experience if they receive profit from an already working scheme.

That’s why many AAA franchises have the same pre-existing structure and include innovations only after concepts developed by small studios receive positive claims.

Thus, a game development life cycle always goes through the same periods with a newly-created plot.

These products can be openly boring

Because of the already mentioned disadvantage, international companies like EA Games sadly started to issue their games year by year, not changing anything in their structure.

As a result, you don’t have to think twice before seeing the same commands and mechanics used in multiple products.

Then, of course, these products become popular, but they also tend to be less exciting and quickly bore their target audience.

What’s The Alternative?

Indie products are a great alternative to complex AAA games that only concentrate on profit.

Small companies can create exciting plots and in-depth character designs that attract many gamers and draw attention to a seemingly lower-quality game.

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