Beyond Blockbusters: The Growing Influence of Non-AAA Games

Banner of Beyond Blockbusters: The Growing Influence of Non-AAA Games

In an industry dominated by blockbuster AAA titles, could the future of gaming lie in the hands of smaller, more innovative developers? As the gaming market soars toward a projected US$363.20 billion by 2027, non-AAA games are carving out a significant niche. Market insights from Statista indicating an annual growth rate of 8.76% between 2024 and 2027, hinting at vast opportunities for these emerging players.

One indicator of this shift is the growth of indie games. According to Konvoy, citing a VG Insights report, indie games accounted for 31% of Steam’s revenue in 2023, up from 25% in 2018. This achievement is particularly notable considering the release of numerous high-quality AAA games in 2023, which traditionally held most gamers’ interest.

What Draws Players to non-AAA Games

From the outset, indie or non-AAA game developers have carved a distinct niche in the gaming landscape. Unlike their AAA counterparts, who often focus on established IPs through sequels and established formulas, non-AAA developers take a more creative and experimental approach. They prioritize:

  • Unique Gameplay Mechanics: Non-AAA developers are fearless in breaking common practice and experimenting with innovative gameplay mechanics. These can range from fresh takes on existing genres to entirely new concepts that push the boundaries of interactivity. This focus on originality keeps gameplay engaging and avoids the feeling of repetitive experiences often associated with sequels.
  • Compelling Narratives: While not every non-AAA game boasts a sprawling narrative, those that do often present unique and captivating stories. Unburdened by the pressure to cater to established franchises, non-AAA developers can explore diverse themes and storytelling techniques, resulting in fresh, impactful narratives that resonate with players.
  • Artistic Innovation: Non-AAA developers often have more creative freedom regarding art style and visual design. This freedom can lead to visually stunning games that push the boundaries of what’s possible or offer unique aesthetics that wouldn’t be possible within the constraints of a major franchise.

A report by Newzoo highlights a trend of overlapped players engaging with breakout titles featuring new IPs. This trend demonstrates gamers’ willingness to embrace “next big thing” titles. Notably, the Action RPG genre has emerged as a consistently popular choice among gamers, steadily increasing total playtime.

The report also identifies the top 10 games with the highest Monthly Active Users (MAUs) in 2023. The results reveal that games offering diverse gameplay experiences are crucial to retaining gamer engagement.

Agate's Expertise in Indie and AA Game Development

Regarding action games with unique gameplay, Agate is a co-developer of RIFTSTORM. RIFTSTORM is a Multiplayer Roguelite Shooter featuring, challenging dungeons, and high replayability for solo and up to 3-player co-op. RIFTSTORM has successfully completed two pre-alpha tests, receiving positive feedback from players. Explore Agate’s involvement in more detail here.

Agate also boasts extensive experience crafting games that deliver varied experiences. In 2023, Agate joined as a Global Growth Development Partner of ZEPETO (Naver Z), a 3D avatar creation app and virtual world platform. Agate’s role in this partnership centers on enriching ZEPETO’s “World” content. We created BFF Signal, a game that revolved around the art of creating profiles, exploring others’ profiles, and discovering potential BFFs through engaging quizzes. See our involvement here.

Choosing the Right Partner

Agate brings this focus to the table as a development partner. We understand the importance of innovation and fresh ideas in indie and AA games. Creating exceptional games often requires a collaborative effort, leveraging the unique strengths of different teams. The gaming landscape is undergoing a transformation, with non-AAA games gaining increasing prominence. Their focus on innovation, fresh experiences, and diverse gameplay elements resonates with a growing segment of gamers. As an experienced game developer with a proven track record in indie and AA-scale game development, Agate is well-positioned to capitalize on this trend and deliver unique gaming experiences for a wider audience. From initial ideation to the final product, Agate offers collaborative opportunities for developers seeking to craft exceptional games together.
The landscape for game development in Southeast Asia just got a significant boost with the Indonesian government’s recent issuance of Presidential Regulation (Perpres) No. 19 of 2024. This regulation signifies increased support for developers in the region and opens exciting new avenues for the industry’s growth.

With 15 years of experience navigating the ever-evolving landscape of Southeast Asia, we’re perfectly positioned to be your partner in this exciting new chapter. Our deep understanding of the regional market allows us to help you tailor your game for maximum impact, reaching Indonesian players and the wider Southeast Asian audience.

Do you want to bring your ideas or existing IP into a fully developed video game? Look no further than Agate!

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today and learn more about how we can help you take your project to exceptional heights.