gaming career

AAA vs Indie studios: which is the right fit for your gaming career?

When embarking on your gaming career, the choice between joining a large AAA company or a more intimate indie studio can be challenging. Both options come with their own set of advantages and drawbacks, appealing to different individuals depending on their career stage and aspirations. So, what truly sets these two worlds apart?

What is AAA?

AAA studios, short for Triple-A, are widely recognised as the dominant force in the gaming industry. These studios are known for their substantial resources, including sizable, dedicated teams and significant financial backing.

They specialise in creating high-budget games that deliver top-tier graphics, immersive gameplay, and captivating narratives. AAA studios often manage multiple new game projects simultaneously, capable of producing globally recognised, large-scale titles.

What is an indie studio?

On the flip side, indie studios are typically characterised as small, close-knit, and independent groups of game developers operating without the financial support of major, mainstream video game publishers.

However, the definition of ‘indie’ has evolved and can be somewhat elusive in today’s gaming landscape.

Key differences

While both AAA and indie studios offer viable career paths, one may be better suited to your preferences and goals.

Budget – AAA studios, with their larger budgets and resources, often provide higher salaries, making them attractive to those seeking competitive compensation.

Team size – Indie studios, consisting of 50 or fewer employees, offer a more intimate and collaborative atmosphere. AAA studios, on the other hand, provide diversity, fostering opportunities to build extensive professional networks.

Role specification – Indie studios often feature versatile roles, encouraging team members to take on multiple responsibilities. This can be a stimulating opportunity for skill expansion, especially for newcomers. However, if specialisation is your goal, AAA studios may offer more focused career paths, whether in game art, development, or other areas.

Flexibility – Indie studios generally excel in work flexibility, offering options for flexible hours and remote work. AAA studios may be more office-centric, catering to those who prefer in-person collaboration.

Creative control – Working in an indie studio, due to smaller team sizes, often provides easier access to creative control. Equally, AAA studios offer the invaluable experience of contributing to high-profile projects.

Risk taking – With less ties to publishers, indie studios tend to take more risks, leading to further innovation and unique creation of games as a result.

Job security – Historically, AAA studios were considered to provide more job stability due to their consistent funding. However, the growing success of the indie scene is challenging this notion, with indie studios, despite their smaller budgets, now offering increased job security.

Exposure – Indie studios provide opportunity for individual distinction and the chance to carve out your own reputation. On the other hand, AAA studios afford you the chance to participate in high-profile, globally recognised games, which can significantly enhance your portfolio. Which holds more significance for you?

Make your move

We recommend considering these differences carefully when shaping your gaming career or seeking your next opportunity in the industry. Regardless of your experience level, our current gaming vacancies are sure to pique your interest.

If you’re struggling to find the right fit, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team for further guidance. Your next move in the gaming world awaits!