Hello, dear reader! It’s “Triple-A” Season in Gameland at the moment. “What’s Triple-A Season?” I hear you all ask, or at least those of you who’ve never heard of “Triple-A Season” and are curious as to what “Triple-A Season” means.
“Triple-A Season” is a phrase brought to you by the same tedious husks who give things 11-out-of-10. It means “big budget games we need to sell tonnes of copies of, to make our money back”, so they’re ranked AAA, rather than just A, B, C…etc… – that way, you, the consumer, know how important it is that you buy them.
It’s a particularly useless system when you realise that the industry doesn’t really refer to AA games, or A, B, C… games, but I guess it serves its purpose of making these games sound like a big deal even if – as often as not – they end up getting 76% on Metacritic. “What’s Metacritic?” I hear you ask. “We don’t have time”, I respond, “Just Google it!”. “What’s Google?”…
Last week, two of these “AAA” titles were released – “Fallout 4” and “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and, not long before that, we had “Assassin’s Creed Syndicate” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops 3”. Tomorrow, there’ll be another – “Star Wars: Battlefront”. There’s still several more to come in the run up to Christmas, traditionally the time of year when, unsurprisingly, videogame sales are at their highest.
Combined, all these AAA-games being released would require hundreds of hours to complete them, and hundreds of pounds to purchase. Obviously, most people neither have the time nor money to do this and so it’s usually about this time of year we also see articles complaining about the flooding of the market, in contrast to the summer drought where very few high-profile games are released.
Clearly, it all makes sense from a business point of view. Whilst I always take a pile of videogames with me on summer holidays, I appreciate that many would see this as a waste of money. Playing on a 3DS at the Coliseum in Rome seems like an unnecessary amount of cash to spend on travel. “What’s a 3DS?” I hear you shout? “Don’t start that again, I reply”…
Christmas is when people treat themselves, and each other, so more people are likely to splash out on a game (and have the time off work to allow them to get the most out of it) at this time of year.
Whilst many might see this heavily skewed schedule as a bad thing, I’ve never actually minded it. Like those joyless souls who wait until they can watch a movie on ITV 2 rather than paying to see it at the cinema, the AAA season just means that, once I’ve finished playing on my Christmas games, the other ones I didn’t have a chance to play will be cheaper – even more so if I pick them up second-hand.
Yes, some argue that this glut of games that arrive at the same time means some are unfairly overlooked and so we’re deprived of franchises that deserved a longer run (2010’s “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West”, for example) but I’ve never run out of games I want to play and I’m guessing you probably haven’t either.
So, to those who get sad because there’s simply too much fun to buy at this time of year, just think about all that money you’ll be saving on videogames next summer for that beach holiday your partner’s been looking forward to.
Oh, and for those eagle-eyed readers that were wondering, I had a bet with someone as to how many “speech marks” I could get in to this week’s article. So that’s another two.