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shikamaru317 said:
Machiavellian said:

What exactly is the measurement you guys define AAA. For me it takes more than just someone opening a studio saying its AAA. They actually have to release a product along the lines of a AAA IP and you really cannot short the process if you do not have enough staff to develop the product.

While I tend to agree with you that a studio is not truly AAA until they ship their first AAA game, all of the studios I listed are headed by AAA veterans with AAA vets in department lead positions, and are being advertised as AAA in their recruitment drives for new hires. That typically means they intend to grow to AAA size before their first game ships (100+ devs) and have AAA budgets (usually over $30m per game in today's industry). Some of the ones I listed already have investments necessary to make a AAA game, for instance That's No Moon already received a $100m investment from Smilegate for their recruitment drive and budget for their first game. Jar of Sparks has NetEase financial backing. Cloud Chamber, 31st Union, Ridgeline Games, Haven Studios, Smilegate Barcelona, Lightspeed LA, Atomic Arcade, Skeleton Key, and the unnamed new EA AAA studio headed by the former Monolith head are all owned by publishers and therefore have AAA funding on their first games. Fool's Theory has a AAA budget from CD Projekt for Witcher 1 remake. SkyDance New Media got a $400m investment in 2022 and has a Marvel AAA budget for their first game.

The thing is it takes more than just one head or even multiple heads to develop into a successful studio.  My personal take would just to call them new Dev studios until they actually ship. There are just so many factors that can happen to prevent a game from coming to market and getting enough seasoned help can be one of them.  We see budgets for most AAA games in the 100 millions and that is a lot of money for any new studio to muster.  I do not believe all of these new studios need to come up with that kind of money but if you want experienced talent, its not going to be cheap.  

Having the money and getting the people are 2 different things.  Staffing up can take years all the while you paying salaries, office space, dev machines and what not.

I think its great that a bunch of new studios are forming, I am just reluctant in calling them AAA when they have not shipped one game.  You first have to prove yourself before you can claim a title and you have to produce the results.  As an example I look at Striking Distance Calisto Protocol.  It took 161 million to make and they have not come close to breaking even.  Visually the game looks AAA and it has some nice tech but a failure of that nature could pretty much shuttle the company. A lot of these companies have high ambition but at what cost.  Having the money does not mean they can successfully bring a product to market and sell to recoup their cost.