AAA, AA, and Indie

What makes a game an indie, a Triple A, or an AA? Also what makes a developer an AAA, AA or Indie developer?

Not sure about AA, but I’m pretty sure AAA means it has a large company backing it like EA or Ubisoft, while Indie games are made by independant developers, usually small studios making a few games.


The AA AAA thing is borrowed from credit rating of companies. Essentially a large wealthy company tends to have an AAA credit rating while a smaller privately ran company probably only gets an AA rating.

How this ended up a marker on quality, size or whatever else you might think of when you say tripple-A games I don’t really know. Well logically a large AAA rated company would have the ability to make a large costly game where as “indies” or smaller studios wouldn’t. But the determination has gotten more and more nebulous over the years and today it means very little.

Indie of course traditionally means independent, as in they’re self published and don’t have a large corporate backer to help and take credit. This was of course used in both the music and film industry before games but has here also gotten almost unrecognizable from it’s original intended meaning. For example Ori and the blind forest has been widely regarded as a masterpiece of indie games, but it’s published by Microsoft. Meanwhile no one has called Witcher 3 an indie game, but it’s made and self published by a single independent studio.

In the case of Ori though you could claim that the studio, Moon Studios, is an independent studio. They’re not owned by Microsoft, but Ori is.

So all in all, it’s a bloody mess really. We might really be better off simply shedding any notion of classifying games in this manner at all. Especially since it no longer speaks in any way to the quality of the product.


Don’t forget about i, ii, and iii indies! :wink:


Didn’t know about the credit rating thing but yes, sucks that people confuse AAA with Indie in some cases and good luck with the shedding, we can’t even get rid of review scores and people thinking a below 8 is shite.

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