Concerns over the stability of the middle class in the American economy has apparently trickled over to video games, where both Develop and Epic Games agree that "Double-A titles are dead". I've been discussing this talking point for the past several years, and how it's causing publishers and developers either to go big and be extremely successful or to create a much smaller game that succeeds as downloadable content.
Epic Games, however, doesn't like the fact that only the biggest triple-A titles survive:
No, no I don’t think so at all. Certainly as a gamer I don’t think what’s going on is a good thing. Triple-A is as much about marketing these days as it is about production values.
Take a game like BulletStorm, for example. That game was supported and well reviewed but just didn’t break out. It wasn’t a failure, but it wasn’t a success that could fund a series of projects either. That’s a game that I think people loved but it’s not one that gets the $100 million marketing budget, because that amount of money is only spent on a few sure-fire hits and annualised sequels...
There’s a lot of great games out there that don’t take off. How many games have you loved that sell less than three million units? There’s probably dozens. Those games can’t get made in today’s games economy. So no, I don’t think it’s a good thing that the middle-class of games have gone away.
Some franchises, like THQ's Red Faction and Activision's True Crime, have already gone by the wayside. Are we bound to see double- and single-A titles be abandoned in the next ten years?