Right, I think this might mark the exact moment when I realised that videogame publishers have actually gone a bit mad. I mean, I know they’ve been a little odd and over-enthusiastic for a while now but this job advert from Microsoft, uncovered on GAF, is really pushing the envelope on nuttiness.[drop2]Microsoft is advertising for a new Executive Producer. That’s the role which has control over coordinating a project from the very beginning. An executive producer will audition concepts, select a development studio, liaise with that team and ensure everything ties together neatly on time and on budget. It’s an important job and Microsoft looking for a new EP to work out of its Redmond base of operations is interesting enough. “But it’s not crazy yet,” I imagine you say!
Well, the thing is, Microsoft has decided that their next generation of first party IP games will not be “Triple A”, as we’ve become so used to hearing. Their job advert wants Executive Producers who are ready to usher in the dawn of the “AAAA” age. That’s right, strap in people, we’re going quadruple on the As.
As the GAF poster points out, this might ordinarily be seen as a typo and laughed off as something a bit silly that nobody would ever be nutty enough to introduce to their vocabulary. But the ad uses the term “AAAA” multiple times.
Let’s be clear, the “AAA” moniker has never had anything to do with the actual quality of a game, it has always referred to how prestigious the project is seen as being within a publisher’s studio. So, Call of Duty games are always triple A but then, so was Homefront. Of course, the more prestigious a game is seen as being by a publisher, the higher the development budget is allowed to creep and the more astronomical the marketing budget will be.
Having read about some of the marketing budgets for current generation triple A games, I dread to think how many big PR parties will have to be rushed together in order to spunk the budget for a quadruple A game. Perhaps they’ll even hire some proper celebs instead of the cast of TOWIE.
Source: Microsoft Careers