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  • S Tier > Studios with a long history of success, numerous critically acclaimed games, with numerous nominations/wins as "game of the year". Games from these studios make the ground shake, nomination in the Game awards (and other awards) is almost certain, also victory is likely.

    Names:
    Naughty Dog.
    Santa Monica Studios.

  • A Tier > Extremely competent studios, capable of making outstanding and critically acclaimed games, however... Imho, 3 factors differentiate A and S tier.

    The first factor is the achievement history. Tier A doesn't have as many nominations and wins as "tier S", plus "tier A" generates a lower feeling of "nomination/win chance" than class S. It's good to say that "Tier A" has solid odds of winning "game of the year" awards, and in some cases they may even have some past awards and appear as favorites.

    Another important difference, Tier "A' studios tend to have some "slips". Even though they have released critically acclaimed games at some point, Tier "A" sometimes releases a game that disappoints. Studios that used to be "Tier S" they turn "Tier A" because they can't repeat past hits, and "Tier A" studios can even get lower.

    Final factor, the impact of "Tier A" games. "Tier S" makes the ground shake, the game makes a mark on the calendar of the year (in some cases they become classics). Tier A doesn't usually create that impact, it's not a question of sales, it's more of a "WOW" factor and being embraced, sometimes adored, by your audience.

    Names:
    Guerrila Games.
    Sucker Punch.
    Insomniac.


  • B Tier > Good games. In some cases the games created by these studios have quality that owes nothing to "Tier A" and are easily confused with "tier S".
    About the expectation of "making a presence" and creating something really special... very few expect that from them.
    Few people expect games created by "tier B" to receive nominations for game of the year, let alone win. 
    Sometimes the studio is still small and needs time for growth and earning reputation ( some Tier S studios used to be Tier B), other times the studio is big, but just can't deliver that "especial game" on "Tier A"/"Tier S" level, and there is also the case of the studio that is connected to " this objective/game" and is not meant to be a top tier studio.

    Names:
    Polyphony Digital.
    Bend studio.
    San Diego Studio.
    Asobi Studios.
    Media Molecule.
    House Marque.


  • C tier > Studios that have something to prove. Too long without releasing a game that makes a substantial impact or/and studios too small to make an impact.

    Names:
    Pixel Opus.
    London studios.


Prediction: In 5 years Nintendo will Lauch a "Core Mario game"  very similar to Astro Bot. That said, many will Ignore Astro Bot existence and say Nintendo created this concept.