Most of the companies that sell consoles like Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft sell indie games that were not developed by them. Various companies that seek to position and sell video game consoles have contracted the services of Ubisoft, EA, or independent studios to distribute their games, which are classified into two camps: AAA and independent.
The difference between these two is the size of the company. Triple A games are developed by companies with a lot of capital, therefore they can create games with hyper-realistic graphics and are considered to be the highest quality.
On the other hand, independent developers have fewer resources and therefore have «lower» quality graphics. Actually, it’s not that a AAA game is always going to be more fun than Indie, or that independents are never going to be successful. There are great indie games like Among Us, Stardew Valley, Undertale, Fall Guys, among others.
Indie titles are developed by small groups like Among Us, or a single person, as was the extraordinary case of Stardew Valley, in which the creator spent more than 10 years working on the project. Many freelance developers require alternate work or fundraising platforms to cover expenses. Because of this, the games tend to be shorter / simpler than AAA’s, but they make up for it with art, gameplay, and great stories. You can easily find them in GAMIVO.
Some consider indie games to be better than AAA games, as they are more accessible and easier to play, which makes it easy for anyone to enjoy them, regardless of whether they are professional gamers or just hobbyists. Also, they do not affect the hardware of computers, which means that they run easily on them.
In contrast, AAA titles are heavy, with long stories and many additions, as well as good graphics. The term itself represents the high-quality expectations that games bring. Because so much is invested in them, the games range from $ 50-70 dollars in cost, are more complex, and usually cannot be played by «anyone» who has decided to try the game as a hobby.
Thanks to the visuals, gamers need hardware that will hold up and run the game. Hence, they are mostly played by passionate gamers.
If you are a developer, what is your ideal path?
Previously, the difference in size between the two sectors was mentioned, which in addition to impacting on production capital, affects the way of producing. In AAA companies, the jobs within the production team are specific to each thing. Once you enter, you only dedicate yourself to one thing. On the other hand, independent studies value more generalists who can fill several roles at the same time.
Capital is another big differentiator between the two types of developers. While triple-A giants can invest in marketing strategies and market analysis to secure their games, independents tend to take leaps of faith with every game. Sure, if they can finance the next one with previous earnings. However, being used to making risky decisions, they tend to develop much more creative games. There are more differences between the development of indie games and triple A’s, the ones mentioned above are just the ones that stand out the most. Even so, it is not like one process is better than the other, you just have to see which one best suits your way of working.
If you go the Indie way….
Focus on launch day, do social media marketing, etc. If it doesn’t go well, nothing happens, you can still earn money throughout the year. If it’s good, you can keep making money. Don’t think influencers will do magic, it doesn’t always work, if you have a limited budget, use it in your game before you pay that virtual opinion leader.
Do what you want, the most important thing is to tell your vision! If you try to be someone you are not, your game is going to feel forced.
KISS rule, (Keep it Stupid simple)
Try to make your game have everything you want it to have to work well, without adding anything. Eventually indie studios are going to make games for Steam, PS4, and Nintendo Switch all at once.
Think that you can simplify so that everything works on various platforms. Always think about making your game with the smallest budget possible. You don’t need the best graphics for your game to be successful.
Tips to get your job at AAA’s
Focus on making connections within the industry. If no one knows how good you are, it doesn’t matter. If you are not in a city with many studies, you can do the networking online. Instagram is one of the best ways. Go beyond the Demo reel Standard. What makes you unique? What else do you know to do?
Find out what you want to do. Usually AAA studios, due to the size of the team, tend to hire people who specialize in one area. You have to have the minimum technical knowledge required, such as FMOD. In addition, it is recommended to have a place where you are uploading your work, because having a presence on the internet is a plus.