Item of Terminology relating to Videogames. Triple A or AAA titles are games released by mainstream developers at the top end of the gaming market. They are highly developed in terms of graphical capability, gameplay and design, and are expected to sell well. Game development companies spend large amounts of time, resources and marketing on these titles, which are often used as flagship titles for their companies and teams. AAA titles tend to cover mainstream topics and genres such as Sport Games, First Person Shooter (FPS) games, and action Adventure games. Although it cannot be predicted whether a title will become an AAA seller, the term is often used to suggest a certain level of production values, budget and potential sales which suggest that the game will be marketed within this remit.
The term derives from the academic grading scale used in the USA – where AAA denotes exceptional quality and F is a Fail – but in a videogaming context, it is applied more to denote the predicted or subsequent commercial success of a videogame. An example of an AAA game series is the Mass Effect trilogy, which combines high quality game design, graphics and narrative in an adventure format. Each game in the series has sold over three million units. Other AAA games with entries in this encyclopedia include the Command & Conquer, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Resident Evil and Starcraft franchises, as well standalone titles by established game developers or development companies such as Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (1999), The Last of Us (2013*) and World of Warcraft (2004-current). These examples should give an idea of the diversity of AAA titles, which do not belong to any single genre, but also indicate their relative conformity to more traditional narratives or gameplay styles; very few AAA games present the player with innovative stories or concepts, although they may include groundbreaking improvements such as graphics or gameplay mechanisms. [EMS]
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