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80% of AAA game studios lost during PS3 and Xbox 360 era, says EA

The number of game studios developing so-called ‘triple-A’ quality games shrank by a massive 80 per cent during the last console cycle, according to an EA executive.

Richard Hilleman, who is EA’s chief creative officer, estimates that around 125 studios were working on top-level games when the Xbox 360 and Sony PS3 were launched 8 years ago.

In a DICE Europe whitepaper, Hilleman pointed out there’s now only 25 studios left doing similar work.

The CCO said the decline isn’t necessarily representative of the amount of people working in the sector, due to larger teams, but it does mean less AAA games are coming to market.

He wrote: “What is true today is that there are fewer AAA games being built than at the same point in the previous generation.

“I’ve done some calculations that say there were about 125 teams in the industry worldwide working on what I’d call a AAA game on a console, and that was 7 or 8 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.”

Will the shrinking number of teams mean a dearth of homogenised content for the next generation of consoles?

Are we looking at a next generation dominated by a handful of giant developers? What does this mean for the future of console gaming?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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