Only 25 triple-A console studios left, claims EA

Only 25 triple-A console studios left, claims EA
Craig Chapple

By Craig Chapple

July 5th 2013 at 11:40AM

Industry has 100 less top studios moving into next-gen than a decade ago, says Hilleman

There are only around 25 triple-A developers left in the industry, claims EA chief creative director Richard Hilleman.

Speaking in a DICE Europe whitepaper, Hilleman said this was down from 125 teams working on triple-A console titles at the start of the last generation seven-to-eight years ago.

He added that despite the decline in studios, the size of those teams had increased by a factor of four.

Hilleman blamed the changes on the move to HD and rising development costs, although felt things would stablise somewhat on PS4 and Xbox One.

The EA exec did not however provide a specific definition of what he meant by triple-A studios, and could be left open to interpretation.

"What is true today is that there are fewer triple-A games being built than at the same point in the previous generation," said Hilleman.

"I’ve done some calculations that say there were about 125 teams in the industry worldwide working on what I’d call a triple-A game on a console, and that was seven or eight years ago.

"That number today is well south of 30; probably in the 25 range. What’s interesting is that, if you look at the composition of those teams, the numbers are exactly the same: those 125 teams became 25; the size of the teams increased by a factor of four. This has everything to do with the standard definition to HD change. If you look at the math, that change is about content – richly about content – and as we evolved, our costs went substantially up. And the number of people on teams with that kind of vision went up by necessity.

"I don’t see that kind of content-oriented change coming in this next generation of platforms. As a result, I think we were on a path that made me nervous, but it seems to have stabilised."