There’s always room in the market to make more AAA games. Players like having more games to choose from over less. The issue isn’t that, it’s that AAA games have really big scope. AAA games aren’t AAA games if they don’t have impressive visuals, significant amounts of content, depth and breadth of game systems, and so on. Just think about Call of Duty for a moment. Try writing down as many of its game features as you can think of. Think about the depth of its animation systems. Consider the number of game modes it has. How many maps did it ship with, including the single player campaign and the multiplayer maps? How many different weapons and items? How many cinematics were there?
Every system, feature, and piece of content has to be built by somebody. Building all of that is a lot of work - animators, riggers, character artists, environment artists, VFX artists, prop artists, technical artists, animation programmers, engine programmers, gameplay programmers, AI programmers, system designers, level designers, scripters, item designers, narrative designers, cinematic designers, and an army of managers, producers, and QA to grease the gears and keep everybody tasked out and the project continuing forward. We’re talking about a team of at least a hundred developers working for at minimum two years. That necessitates a minimum budget in the tens of millions. For a franchise as huge as Call of Duty, you’re looking at thousands of developers.
Unless the small team has somehow discovered the secret of each team member somehow doing the work of ten experienced professionals in the same amount of time, this minimum scope requirement basically excludes small teams from participating unless you start stretching the definition of “small”. It’s theoretically possible if the dev team outsources huge amounts of its work to contractors and third party studios and does not count those contractors as “team members”, then it might be considered “small”. But generally speaking, AAA games are built by large teams because they require so much total aggregate work that they can’t be built by small teams.
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