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EA's Hilleman: Triple-A console studios reduced to 25 worldwide

Down from 125 seven years ago, but roughly employing the same amount of staff, says CCO

Richard Hilleman, chief creative officer of Electronic Arts, has calculated that the number of teams working on triple-A console games is in the region of 25 studios worldwide.

That's compared to 125 studios at the beginning of the current generation, but according to his own calculations, those 25 teams still employ the same number of staff due to the significant increase in team sizes required to develop blockbuster games.

"We were on a path that made me nervous, but it seems to have stabilised"

"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," he wrote in a whitepaper produced for DICE Europe.

"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.

Hilleman puts the increase in team sizes down to the switch to high definition games. But he also said that he's more confident that there won't be such a significant change to content with the looming release of the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

"This has everything to do with the standard definition to HD change. If you look at the math, that change is about content - richly about content - and as we evolved, our costs went substantially up.

"And the number of people on teams with that kind of vision went up by necessity. I don't see that kind of content-oriented change coming in this next generation of platforms. As a result, I think we were on a path that made me nervous, but it seems to have stabilised."

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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