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Forums - Gaming Discussion - Why I gave up on the AAA industry.

When I was younger, I used to only play AAA games, pretty much like everyone I knew. With time, though, I started playing more and more indie games. Now I look at the upcoming AAA games and I can't get excited for any of them. Nintendo was the one company holding me back from fully embracing indies, but now I see them doing the same things that made me fall out of love with so many other developers in the past. Here are some reasons why I stopped playing AAA games:

1. The price

Every time I ponder buying a AAA game, I remember that, for the same price, I could buy at least 3 amazing indies. And more than just that, it's hard to even find a game where you pay 60 dollars for the full experience. Wanna buy Smash? Cool, but you have to pay 25 more dollars if you really want all the content. Thank you for buying Spider-Man, but you'll have to pay more if you want to see all the story!

2. Anti-consumer practices

Pre-order exclusive content, microtransactions, recycled DLC, DRM, it's hard to list everything. I don't want to feel forced to pay more or buy a game before I'm ready to just to enjoy the best experience possible.

3. Lack of innovation

When was the last time you saw a AAA game that did something no one has ever done? I'm not talking about refining previously established concepts, I'm talking about taking risks to create something truly new. Well, I couldn't name a single game. Meanwhile, indies are innovating all the time. Just google the list of indie games released in 2018 and you'll see a bunch of fresh ideas.

4. Lack of variety

I don't see as much variety on AAA games as I'd like. Most of them just follow a trend, and so they're usually restricted to a few genres and most of them don't have a very distinct art style, opting to only try to be as photorealistic as possible. You can find indie games from any genre with pretty much any art style you could think of, though.

5. Excessive exposure

It feels to me as if AAA developers are afraid no one is going to buy their game, and therefore showing every single thing present in the game, leaving no room for surprise. I like to play a game knowing as little as possible, and that's almost impossible with AAA games. I just played Gorogoa and was amazed by it. If I knew what it was about beforehand, it would've ruined my gameplay.

6. Toxic community

This is more of a personal one and isn't directly the developers' fault. But I see the indie community as much less aggressive and toxic. I'm tired of the console wars, the harmful competitiveness between franchises, and the overall inflamed discussions that lead nowhere. Of course, there are some indie games that have toxic communities, such as Undertale, but it's a tiny minority.

I'm not saying I'll completely abandon the AAA industry, I might still buy a $60 game here or there. And I don't want to destroy the AAA industry or make you all stop buying these games either, I'm just pointing out some things that made me distance myself from this section of gaming, and maybe make you think a bit too, if you haven't yet.

What are your thoughts on this? Why do you prefer AAA games over indies? Or if you don't, why?



Some people need to seriously read the last paragraph, but I'm going to highlight a few points to clarify some things.

1. I'm not trying to make you dislike AAA games and like indie games.
2. I'm not saying that ALL AAA games suck and that there's no single exception, I actually said that I might buy AAA games here or there.
3. I'm not saying that ALL indie games are great and innovative.
4. I'm not saying that I dislike AAA games just because they're labeled AAA. It's just that the majority of AAA games are doing these things that I dislike.
5. I'm not saying you're wrong if you disagree with me. After all, the thread is named "Why I gave up on the AAA industry", not "Why YOU should give up on the AAA industry".
6. I'm not saying my opinions are facts. That's why they're my opinions.
7. I'm not saying that ALL AAA games are the same. I'm just saying that a lot of them reuse previously established formulas.
8. I'm not saying microtransactions should bother everyone. I'm saying that they bother me.

You were supposed to give your own perspective, but a lot of you just seem to be trying to convince me. I don't miss playing a lot of AAAs, I'm actually very happy playing mostly just indies. Think of this thread as more of a story time than a call for help.

Last edited by LuccaCardoso1 - on 06 November 2018


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The problem I have with the AAA part of the industry is their ever increasing focus on the "games as a service" bullshit. As online only and streaming models become the norm I'm finding myself entertaining the thought of becoming a 100% retro gamer more and more. I visited a large videogame market in the city I live in and there are tons of old games, consoles and accesories to keep me busy for a lifetime. 

While I generally agree—AAA gaming, particularly western AAA gaming, is one of the least interesting spheres of gaming today—I don’t think indies are any better at innovation. Many of them are riffing on formulas that have been around since NES.

In general, I think the best work done today in the games industry falls into three buckets: Western A (or indie) games, Japanese AA games, and Japanese AAA games (thanks mostly to Nintendo). In my mind, many modern AAA experiences are spoiled by cinematic pretensions or games-as-a-service frameworks.

AAA games are the vast majority of what I play. I play a few AA's and A's/indies, but not alot. If I gave up AAA's, I would basically be giving up gaming altogether. 

Last edited by shikamaru317 - on 06 November 2018

My main problem with what is calloed AAA is that (in most cases) all the A’s are spent on visuals and very little is spent on anything else (of course there are exceptions).

With that said I still like many/mosts of the things Nintendo do. Other than that what goes under the term ”indie” is much more interesting in most cases.

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In my experience most indie games are cheap and gimmicky. I mostly play older double and triple A games that I buy on sales.

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Deus Ex (2000) - a game that pushes the boundaries of what the video game medium is capable of to a degree unmatched to this very day.

shikamaru317 said:

AAA games are the vast majority of what I play. I play a few AA's and A's/indies, but not alot. (...)



m0ney said:
In my experience most indie games are cheap and gimmicky. (...)

Then maybe you should play some other indie games. Or maybe redefine what you mean by "gimmicky". Creating something new and exploring it isn't necessarily being gimmicky. I see a lot of people calling games gimmicky just because they don't follow a strict formula.


You can wait a year or two and pick up any AAA game for peanuts with the bugs ironed out and don't worry about the extras, you don't notice anything is missing, nor do you notice you get anything extra. The only reason to play AAA games day 1 is because it's fun to exchange experiences with other people playing the game. That's hard to find with indies and playing older games.

My problem with indies is, it's hard to find the gems. And most of the time I just want to relax with something familiar.

LuccaCardoso1 said:
shikamaru317 said:

AAA games are the vast majority of what I play. I play a few AA's and A's/indies, but not alot. (...)


For many reasons:


1. I have a Gamefly subscription, and of course only games that get a physical release are eligible for Gamefly, and very few indies get physical releases. Gamefly allows me to play basically any AAA/AA that releases for just $17 a month, which is an incredible value. 

2. Indies are very often overpriced at release, $20 for a game that has maybe 6 hours of content if even that much is not a good value imo. There are some indies that are longer, or release for less than $20, but they are few and far between, and now $30 indies are becoming more common making matters even worse. 

3. Many indie games feel more like art pieces than games. 

4. Platformer is the most popular genre for indies, and I like very few platformers besides Sonic. 



1. There is barely even such a thing as AA anymore in the west, and the few western AA's that are left are largely genres that I don't like, like isometric RPG's.

2. I do play some Japanese AA's, but there are usually only 3 or so that interest me in a given year.