This thread is inspired by that other thread: http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/thread.php?id=237088&
We see a lot of people who think 'AAA' stands for high production values or budgets. But nobody knows the true numbers, so this is nothing but making educated guesses. We are simply not qualified to categorize games based on their production values simply because we don't know them.
Rather the term 'AAA' serves a different function. It is supposed to tell us that a game is of high quality. If it costed a truckload of money it surely must be good, right? That's the entire premise behind it. Nothing else, nothing more.
But the major flaw is that high budgets don't mean anything when it comes to being a good game. There are good games and bad games but budgets don't determine that. Examples exist for good games with high budgets as well as terrible games with high budgets. Exampes also exist for outstanding games with low budgets as well as awful games with low budgets. There is simply no connection between these two criteria.
Gameplay > Graphics
Substance > Style
Art Direction > Realism