Forums - Gaming Discussion - The term 'AAA' has nothing to do with production values or budgets

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.

 



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just tagging to follow this possible train wreck.

Although, I partially agree with your opinion that being qualified by the masses as "AAA" has no guarantee of it's quality.



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As far as I'm concerned, most AAA games suck ass. I tend to avoid them altogether nowadays with just a few exceptions here and there. Mainly first party games from Nintendo and Sony. But other than that, fuck AAA.

As for the definition. For me AAA games are indeed those high budget games by EA, Ubisoft and the like which get a ton of marketing and all that shit. The term doesn't have anything to do with quality in my book. If we're solely talking about quality, The Binding of Isaac would be a AAA game as well as Stardew Valley and many other Indies. On the other hand, in terms of quality Call of Duty would be a B- tops if you ask me.

But whatever, I don't really care too much about the definition of AAA.



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You seem to be mistaken that the meaning AAA has anything to do with the fact if a game is good. Though basically all of them do have a certain level of quality and polish. An unpolished game would never get the distinction of being called AAA. And before people jump on me, having a certain amount of bugs does not mean the game is necessarily unpolished. It's about the overall experience.

Also what do you mean, we don't have anything to go on? We always know how many people worked on a game. So it's quite easy to distinguish AAA games, which were made by hundreds of people, from indie games and smaller games which were made by less than 100 people.



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vivster said:
1) You seem to be mistaken that the meaning AAA has anything to do with the fact if a game is good. Though basically all of them do have a certain level of quality and polish. 2) An unpolished game would never get the distinction of being called AAA. And before people jump on me, having a certain amount of bugs does not mean the game is necessarily unpolished. It's about the overall experience.

3) Also what do you mean, we don't have anything to go on? We always know how many people worked on a game. So it's quite easy to distinguish AAA games, which were made by hundreds of people, from indie games and smaller games which were made by less than 100 people.

1) No I'm not. It's not me, it's the people out there who think that if a game was expensive it must be good.

2) Mass Effect Andromeda says hi, but I guess that's where your disclaimer kicks in. To which I say, a high budget also doesn't determine an overall experience.

3) Employee Numbers are one thing but we don't know the salary. Also, different people earn different amounts. Also, some tasks may be outsourced and we don't know how much that costs. Also, we don't know how many resources have been reused as leftovers from other games. Also, we dn't know how much tech was custom built inside the studio and how much was bought in externally. Also, we don't know how long a game has been in development.

To all of these issues we only have points of reference but no conrete facts.



Gameplay > Graphics

Substance > Style

Art Direction > Realism

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It has everything to do with production values and budgets



Cuphead is an amazing low budget game that had to sell 1 million copies to be successful for both Publisher and Developer, it is not AAA.
Ghost Recon Wildlands is a mediocre, but high budget game with a $60 price tag and needs to sell millions to succeed, it is AAA.

It's not quality, it is based on investment, the size of the team required to make it, how many millions it has to sell to break even, and its marketing campaign. If a game is AAA because it is really good, then we would have a whole lot of $16 indie titles being called 'AAA'. It does not have to be good, it just has to be expensive and risky for the company making it.



Let me ask differently.

Where is the line between AAA, AA and A and how can we distinguish them?



Gameplay > Graphics

Substance > Style

Art Direction > Realism

AAA is to do with budget/production value. it doesn't matter if we don't know the budget because there's no exact criteria. There is no fixed amount that a game must have cost to be AAA. A game doesn't have to be "good" to be AAA.

"Production value" includes not just the content but how ambitious it is.

AAA is a quick term we can use to differentiate games, even ones in the same series, such as xbl arcade/PSN titles from full releases

Assassin's Creed Unity is AAA, Assassin's Creed Chronicles is not.

Battlefield Bad Company is AAA, Battlefield 1943 is not.

Halo 3 is AAA, Halo Spartan Assault is not.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is AAA, Lara Craft Temple of Osiris is not.



GoOnKid said:
vivster said:
1) You seem to be mistaken that the meaning AAA has anything to do with the fact if a game is good. Though basically all of them do have a certain level of quality and polish. 2) An unpolished game would never get the distinction of being called AAA. And before people jump on me, having a certain amount of bugs does not mean the game is necessarily unpolished. It's about the overall experience.

3) Also what do you mean, we don't have anything to go on? We always know how many people worked on a game. So it's quite easy to distinguish AAA games, which were made by hundreds of people, from indie games and smaller games which were made by less than 100 people.

1) No I'm not. It's not me, it's the people out there who think that if a game was expensive it must be good.

2) Mass Effect Andromeda says hi, but I guess that's where your disclaimer kicks in. To which I say, a high budget also doesn't determine an overall experience.

3) Employee Numbers are one thing but we don't know the salary. Also, different people earn different amounts. Also, some tasks may be outsourced and we don't know how much that costs. Also, we don't know how many resources have been reused as leftovers from other games. Also, we dn't know how much tech was custom built inside the studio and how much was bought in externally. Also, we don't know how long a game has been in development.

To all of these issues we only have points of reference but no conrete facts.

The AAA classification is no exact science. It's a classification made by consumers that was adopted by companies as a a marketing tool. It is not hard to distinguish AAA games from indie games. It might be harder to distinguish when all you do is play AAA games or games made by big companies because they are all on a similar level of scope and polish.

BTW Andromeda is more polished than 99.99% of games. It is a true AAA game without any ambiguity.

The only person I've seen in here saying anything about "good" games is you. It's flawed to have a subjective label connected to an objective measure like the AAA label which can be fixed on observable facts.



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