The Sims 11th Anniversary

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Year 11 for The Sims, and it’s still going strong! EA Netherlands sent out a number of press releases that includes fun facts, highlights, and a timeline of the games below. Thanks to Sims Nieuws for reporting!

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Summary

The Sims™ franchise, the wildly popular game series that allows players to create and live a virtual, simulated life, skyrocketed to the top of the charts when it began shipping to stores in February 2000 and quickly became a universal gaming and cultural phenomenon. The critically-acclaimed franchise celebrates an impressive over 125 million units sold to date and is translated into 22 different languages and available in 60 different countries. The Sims has inspired two more base games, The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, numerous expansion packs for PC and Mac, titles for all major console gaming systems, and games for the iPhone, iPod touch, and mobile phones.

“At first, no one believed that a videogame about people and social interaction, without shooting, driving or what passes for action, could be published successfully,” said EA President and CEO John Riccitiello. “Today this game, The Sims, has evolved to become the world’s most successful PC game and a global multi-platform success. The Sims has incredible appeal among teens and young adults, and especially among female players, has broken all the old established rules about videogames.”

The Sims franchise continues to be on the top of the charts throughout the world and is enjoyed by a wide audience of men and women from teenagers and beyond. It’s the only franchise that truly allows you to play with life.

The Sims Highlights

  • The Sims franchise has sold over 125 million copies since its 2000 launch.
  • The Sims is the #1 best selling PC Franchise of all time, EA’s #1 best selling Franchise and #2 in the Western World in sales across all video game platforms
  • The Sims will turn eleven in February 2011 and remains a top seller in virtually every major game market worldwide.
  • Since the launch in 2000, The Sims franchise has spawned nearly two dozen expansion packs, deluxe editions, and versions for console systems, mobile phones, and an online version.
  • According to The NPD Group, The Sims base product was the number one selling PC game from 2000 -2003. The Sims 2 then went on to be the best-selling PC game in 2004 and the second best-selling PC game of 2005 and 2006. The Sims™ 3 was the best-selling PC game of calendar 2009 selling through an impressive 1.4 million PC/Mac units in the first week of launch making it the best-selling PC launch in EA’s history.
  • In October 2006, The Sims 2 Pets was the most successful expansion pack in franchise history, ranking in spots one or two of the PC game charts for more than 3 months.
  • Over the years, The Sims and its following titles have won more than 100 game critic awards and have landed on the cover of over three dozen magazines for The Sims 3 alone.
  • Fan intensity is evidenced through the more than 200 million downloads of player created content for The Sims 3 including: Sims, houses, stories and more. The Sims YouTube Channel is within the top 10 most viewed sponsored channels of all time with over 98,000 subscribers and over 42 million video views. http://www.youtube.com/TheSims
  • The Sims 3 official Facebook page boasts nearly 3MM ‘likes’ and the official Twitter following is nearly 70,000 people.

Timeline

PC

  • The Sims™ – February 2000
  • The Sims™ Livin’ Large – August 2000
  • The Sims™ House Party – March 2001
  • The Sims™ Hot Date – November 2001
  • The Sims™ Vacation – March 2002
  • The Sims™ Deluxe Edition – September 2002
  • The Sims™ Unleashed – September 2002
  • The Sims™ Online – December 2002
  • The Sims™ Superstar – May 2003
  • The Sims™ Makin’ Magic – October 2003
  • The Sims™ 2 – September 2004
  • The Sims™ 2 Special DVD Edition – September 2004
  • The Sims™ 2 University – February 2005
  • The Sims™ 2 Nightlife – September 2005
  • The Sims™ 2 Holiday Edition – November 2005
  • The Sims™ 2 Holiday Party Pack – November 2005
  • The Sims™ 2 Open for Business – March 2006
  • The Sims™ 2 Pets – October 2006
  • The Sims™ 2 Family Fun Stuff – April 2006
  • The Sims™ 2 Glamour Life Stuff – August 2006
  • The Sims™ 2 Happy Holiday Stuff – November 2006
  • The Sims™ 2 Seasons – March 2007
  • The Sims™ 2 Celebration! Stuff – April 2007
  • The Sims™ 2 Deluxe – May 2007
  • The Sims™ 2 H&M Fashion Stuff – June 2007
  • The Sims™ 2 Bon Voyage – September 2007
  • The Sims™ 2 Teen Style Stuff – November 2007
  • The Sims™ 2 FreeTime – February 2008
  • The Sims™ 2 Double Deluxe – April 2008
  • The Sims™ 2 Kitchen and Bath Interior Design Stuff – April 2008
  • The Sims™ 2 IKEA Home Stuff – June 2008
  • The Sims™ 2 Apartment Life – August 2008
  • The Sims™ 2 Mansion and Garden Stuff – November 2008
  • The Sims™ 3 – June 2009
  • The Sims™ 3 World Adventures – November 2009
  • The Sims™ 3 High-End Loft Stuff – February 2010
  • The Sims™ 3 Ambitions – June 2010
  • The Sims™ 3 Fast Lane Stuff – September 2010
  • The Sims™ 3 Late Night – October 2010
  • The Sims™ 3 Outdoor Living Stuff – February 2011

Console/Mobile

  • The Sims™ (PlayStation®2) – January 2003
  • The Sims™ (Xbox®/Nintendo GameCube™) – March 2003
  • The Sims™ Bustin’ Out (PlayStation 2/Xbox/Nintendo GameCube/Game Boy® Advance) – December 2003
  • The Sims™ 2 (PlayStation 2/Xbox/GameCube/Nintendo DS™/Game Boy Advance) – October 2005
  • The Sims™ 2 (Mobile phones/PlayStation Portable) – November 2005
  • The Sims™ 2 Pets (GameCube/ PlayStation 2/ Xbox/ Game Boy Advance/ Nintendo DS/ PlayStation Portable/Wii) – October 2006, November 2006, December 2006, June 2007
  • The Sims™ 2 Castaway (PlayStation 2 /PlayStation Portable /Nintendo DS™ /Wii) – October 2007

The Sims Franchise Product One Sheet

The Sims – February 2000
Create simulated people and control their lives, careers and relationships.

The Sims Livin’ Large – August 2000
The Sims Livin’ Large offers 125 new items for Sims to use—from a potion making chemistry set to a vibrating bed; five new careers for Sims to pursue—journalism, hacker, slacker, music and paranormal; and new design and architecture features, so players can build anything from a tacky love shack to a gloomy castle for their Sims to call home.

The Sims House Party – March 2001
Packed with a variety of fun-filled activities for Sims to take part in, The Sims House Party offers three new architecture and decor styles, more than 100 new items and five fresh music and dance styles.

The Sims Hot Date – November 2001
With over forty new social interactions, The Sims can flirt, play footsie, make out, gossip about the couple at the next table or chat in Simlish about new and diverse interests, whatever it takes to keep sparks flying on their dates.

The Sims Vacation – March 2002
Players can help their Sims escape the grind of their everyday lives by sending them to this new and fully customizable island destination that offers a snowy alpine setting, a Riviera-style beach and a forest campground.

The Sims Unleashed – September 2002
With thirty all-new residential and community lots The Sims Unleashed features new homes, lush parks, a hip new café, cool shops and a farmer’s market that are all available for Sims to explore. Now the Sims can walk their pooch in the park or bring their cat to a café and build their relationships with their neighbors through their adorable animals.

The Sims Online – December 2002
A massive virtual world created and populated by thousands of players from around the world, in this never-ending alternative reality player can be themselves or “Be Somebody. Else™.”

The Sims Superstar – May 2003
For the first time ever, players can follow their Sims to work and witness their pursuit of fame and fortune firsthand. Fledgling Sims start by signing with an agent and shuttling to Studio Town, a new and fully customizable destination that offers television and movie lots, spa locations, recording studios and fabulous fashion facilities.

The Sims Makin’ Magic – October 2003
In The Sims Makin’ Magic players can venture to an all-new magical, carnival-themed destination, experience exciting new gameplay, gain over 150 new items, and encounter a whole new cast of quirky characters in this powerful pack of magical high jinx.

The Sims 2 – September 2004
Players control their Sims over an entire lifetime for the first time. Every choice that is made has a relevant and dramatic effect on the life of a Sim. More life-like Sims, all-new gameplay, and the ground-breaking addition of genetics, with the DNA of Sims passed down through generations gives players a more vivid, realistic, and in-depth Sims experience.

The Sims 2 University – February 2005
Players for the first time will play through the new “young adult” life stage as their Sims head off to college and join the campus crowd in The Sims 2 University. Sims can choose from one of 11 majors and by keeping their grades on track, they’ll secure a final degree and open up 4 new career paths.

The Sims 2 Nightlife – September 2005
In The Sims 2 Nightlife players will be able to turn their nightlife fantasies into reality while interacting with the new downtown locals and may even run into exotic new characters such as vampires and fortune tellers. To create their ultimate after-dark environment, players will find loads of new objects including a Karaoke machine, poker table, electro-dancesphere and DJ booth.

The Sims 2 Holiday Edition – November 2005
“Deck the Halls” of your virtual homes in a Holiday-Themed Special Edition of The Sims 2 Holiday Edition.

The Sims 2 Open for Business – March 2006
Players can create virtually any kind of business for their Sims in The Sims 2 Open for Business, from a trendy clothing boutique alongside a hip beauty salon, to a bustling restaurant chain selling blooming floral bouquets. With more than 125 new items and all new gameplay elements to choose from, the business possibilities are endless.

The Sims 2 Pets – October 2006
In The Sims 2 Pets players will be able to own a pet, teach them new tricks, take them for a romp in the park, outfit them with new pet accessories and even give them a job! As in real life, your Sims’ pet will require care and training.

The Sims™ 2 Family Fun Stuff – April 2006
Add excitement to your Sims’ family with this all-new collection* of furniture, clothing, and décor. Decorate the home with an assortment of cool new furnishings, including upscale living room items and adventurous bedroom sets.

The Sims™ 2 Glamour Life Stuff – August 2006
Your Sims can now indulge in a glamorous life with this collection of luxurious furniture, fashionable clothing, and extravagant décor items*. Create lavish homes furnished with the finest modern bedroom, living room, and dining room sets.

The Sims™ 2 Happy Holiday Stuff – November 2006
“Deck the Halls” of your virtual homes in a Holiday-Themed Stuff Pack, for those that didn’t get the special holiday edition of The Sims 2.

The Sims 2 Holiday Edition – November 2006
“Deck the Halls” of your virtual homes in a Holiday-Themed Special Edition of The Sims 2 Holiday Edition.

The Sims 2 Seasons – March 2007
Sims experience the seasons changing in winter, spring, summer and fall, but each season will deliver unique benefits, impacting your Sims relationships, mood, skills, careers and more.

The Sims™ 2 Celebration! Stuff – April 2007
Your Sims can now celebrate in style with this fun collection of furniture, party fashions, and décor items. Host an elegant wedding with dazzling gowns, swanky tuxedos, and breathtaking dresses for the entire bridal party. Decorate their house and garden to throw the ultimate fiesta and serve hot meals straight off the new grill!

The Sims™ 2 H&M Fashion Stuff – June 2007
Your Sims can choose from contemporary fashion essentials including flirty short dresses, casual but striking dress shirts, and other head-turning outfits, complete with accessories-all inspired by real H&M® designs. Design your own store modeled after the sleek interiors of the trendsetting retailer. Your Sims will show off their superior sense of style with The Sims 2 H&M® Fashion Stuff.

The Sims 2 Bon Voyage – September 2007
Whether your Sims are relaxing on a lush tropical island in a luxury suite, camping with the family on a pristine mountaintop, or exploring the culture of the Far East, they’ll enjoy new activities to relax and rejuvenate with The Sims 2 Bon Voyage.

The Sims™ 2 Teen Style Stuff – November 2007
Give your teen Sims everything they need to express their unique style with The Sims 2 Teen Style Stuff! Now your teen Sims can show some attitude with all-new, unique furniture, decor items, fashions and more with three distinct themes-”Goth,” “Thrasher,” and “Socialite.”

The Sims 2 FreeTime – February 2008
Sims can follow their individual interests, whether it’s immersing themselves in books, becoming an award-winning foodie, flying a remote-controlled helicopter or playing the violin.

The Sims™ 2 Kitchen and Bath Interior Design Stuff – April 2008
Redesign your Sims’ essential living areas into the most luxurious of spaces. Be your Sims’ personal interior designer! Give them the kitchens and bathrooms of their dreams with a variety of new furniture, décor, and outfits!

The Sims™ 2 IKEA Home Stuff – June 2008
Whether you want to create a trendy, spacious office, a chic living room, or a cozy and inviting bedroom, you can make your Sims’ dream house into something even better-a home. Be your Sims’ personal interior designer with inspiring, contemporary styles from IKEA!

The Sims 2 Apartment Life – August 2008
Your Sims are moving into a brand-new apartment, and their lives will never be the same! Adventure, fun, and drama await them as they meet new people and explore their new neighborhood.

The Sims™ 2 Mansion and Garden Stuff – November 2008
Design impressive estates and meticulous gardens for your Sims with three all-new architectural styles: Moroccan, Art Deco, and Second Empire. With a host of new architectural and landscaping items to choose from, your Sims mansions will look more stunning than ever!

The Sims 3 – June 2, 2009
Create lifelike Sims with a unique personality and take them anywhere in the neighborhood. The powerful Create-a-Sim tool allows you to create Sims that are more realistic than ever. Select from dozens of personality traits such as brave, artistic, kleptomaniac, clumsy, paranoid and romantic. With Create-a-Sim, you can create a limitless number of truly unique Sims. The Sims 3 allows for infinite possibilities to design the interior and exterior of your Sims’ surroundings using the Create-a-style feature. Enjoy the challenge of short and long-term goals and then reap the rewards! Based on personality traits, skills and career choices, your Sims have Wishes that provide constant fun challenges and so many things to do and achieve. You have the ultimate freedom to choose whether to fulfill their destiny, giving them lifetime happiness and rewards or not!

The Sims 3 World Adventures – November 17, 2009
Take your Sims on the adventure of a lifetime! Guide your Sims to acclaimed fortune—or potential doom. Take your Sims to exotic real world inspired locations to hunt for hidden treasures.  From mastering martial arts in Shang Simla, China, discovering rich culture and famous landmarks on a romantic getaway to Champs Les Sims, France or exploring the depths of ancient tombs in Al Simhara, Egypt, take your Sims on a journey that will change their lives.

The Sims™ 3 High-End Loft Stuff – February 2010
Transform your Sims’ homes into sleek, edgy lofts with The Sims 3 High-End Loft Stuff. With a host of new items including slick gadgets for your high-tech home office, a next-gen gaming system for the killer game room, modern furniture and more, your Sims can now give their homes an ultra-modern makeover!

The Sims™ 3 Ambitions – June 2010
Players can now experience some of the most exciting and varied jobs. In The Sims 3 Ambitions, players can choose to hunt down vengeful spirits as the ghost hunter, invent brilliant and potentially destructive gadgets as an inventor, craft glorious masterpieces as a sculptor, and solve riveting cases by any means necessary as an investigator with dozens of cases to solve and numerous clues to find.

The Sims™ 3 Fast Lane Stuff – September 2010
With The Sims 3 Fast Lane Stuff pack players adrenalin-loving dreams come true. Players choose from four different lifestyle options: racing, intrigue, rockabilly and classic luxury. Each option offers unique items to outfit their Sims with the latest clothing, home furnishings and vehicles.

The Sims™ 3 Late Night – October 2010
The Sims 3 Late Night gives players all-access and lets them loose on a vibrant, active downtown scene where they’ll rub elbows with celebrities at the hottest parties, hit the local bar after work, tour the scene with their Sims’ band, kick back in a plush hot tub, and discover what’s lurking in the thick of the night. Players will be able to take their Sims into the bustling urban setting where they’ll be able to become a celebrity, member of a music band, mixologist, director, and more.

The Sims™ 3 for PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox® 360 video game system Nintendo DS™ and Wii™ – Oct/Nov 2010
Create Sims with unique personalities, fulfill their desires…or not, and control their lives within a living neighborhood. All-new features make it easier than ever to mess with life as players can unlock the ultimate “Karma Powers” for instant control and unleash them on their Sims. With Karma Powers, players can help their Sim “get lucky,” bless them with “instant beauty” or be deviant and curse them with an “epic fail.” But players should use these powers wisely—they may have unexpected results and karma may come back to bite. With the HD versions, connect to share your creations and download content from other players around the world without ever leaving the game through a seamlessly integrated exchange system. Additionally, face short and long term challenges and reap rewards and trophies. Then share achievements with your friends online by connecting with Facebook. Specific on the Wii, go head to head against your friends in the new Life Moments Game. Play with up to three other players as you bet on life’s most important moments to earn points and garner rewards. Enjoy an all-new beach location with new residents, traits, careers, weather, Karma Powers, lifetime wishes and for the first time direct control of your Sim.

The Sims™ 3 Outdoor Living Stuff – February 2011
Start the outdoor party off right by giving your Sims everything they need for a stylish and comfortable outdoor living space with The Sims 3 Outdoor Living Stuff pack. New items include hot tubs, a fully equipped outdoor kitchen with a built-in countertop grill, fire pits and more! Choose from two new styles of décor; Garden Terrace and Sunset on the Veranda to decorate their outdoor space.  Outfit your Sims with new clothing items like the perfect casual attire for a BBQ party or a wistful romantic night under the stars.

THE SIMS FUN FACTS

A family of overachievers
The original The Sims™ was the best-selling PC game worldwide in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003, until it was dethroned by its own sequel The Sims 2, which was the best-selling PC game of 2004, and the second best selling PC game of 2005. In October 2006, The Sims 2 Pets was the most successful expansion pack in franchise history, ranking in spots 1 or 2 of the PC game charts for more than 3 months. In 2007, the franchise dominated the top ten charts claiming four of the ten spots including The Sims 2 Seasons Expansion pack at number 3 along with The Sims 2, The Sims 2 Bon Voyage, and The Sims 2 Pets. In 2008, The Sims had three games on the charts with The Sims 2 Double Deluxe, The Sims 2 FreeTime and The Sims 2 Apartment Life. In June of 2009, The Sims 3 sold a whopping 1.4 million units according to NPD data in its first week making it the biggest PC launch in EA’s history and now the worldwide best-selling PC game of 2009!

A worldwide phenomenon
The Sims franchise has fans around the globe with combined sales for the franchise topping 125 million – that’s more than enough for one for every single person in the UK!

Blockbuster Entertainment
The Sims franchise has generated more than $2.5 billion of revenue, putting it in the same class as blockbuster films Avatar, Titanic, and The Matrix Trilogy.

Celebrities Love The Sims
In the mix of Sims fans from around the world, famous actors, TV personalities, and musicians have shown their support for The Sims over the years. From attending parties, lending their voice stylings to the games, spoofing the games on TV shows, or just professing their adoration, celebs know how to get their game on.

Making news
The Sims was the first and only video game franchise to make the cover of Newsweek! Since then, The Sims franchise has graced hundreds of magazine covers to date with a more than 45 for The Sims 3 alone.

Fun that translates
The Sims 3 has been translated into more than 22 languages including Swedish, Thai and Russian and is available in over 60 countries worldwide! Da!

A language that doesn’t
Sims speak Simlish, an emotion-filled language that defies translation. In creating Simlish, the development team experimented with fractured Ukrainian and Tagalog, the language of the Philippines. Inspired by the code talkers of WWII, The Sims creator Will Wright also suggested Navajo. Over the years, fans have learned to recognize some words like dag dag for hello and nooboo for baby.

Funny Money
The Sims have their own form of currency called Simoleans. The currency originated way back in early eighteenth-century Britain, where sixpence were often slangily called a simon. Simon mixed with the much more valuable French gold coins called Napoleans became Simoleans! And, what more appropriate currency for The Sims!

Hot tracks
Rock Stars like Simlish too! Soundtracks for The Sims games read like a who’s who of chart-topping talent; The Black Eyed Peas, Nelly Furtado, Katy Perry, LeAnn Rimes, Natasha Bedingfield, the Pussycat Dolls and Depeche Mode have recorded their chart topping hits in Simlish.

Play from the comfort of your living room
Kick back and enjoy playing The Sims 3 from your couch! Play with life like never before on the PlayStation® 3 computer entertainment system, Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system, the Wii™ and Nintendo DS™. In 2011, the most popular life simulator franchise comes to a 3D world with The Sims 3 for the Nintendo 3DS™. Various The Sims games are also available on PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, the Xbox® video game system from Microsoft, the Nintendo GameCube™, the Game Boy® Advance, the Nintendo DS™, Wii™, the PSP® (PlayStation®Portable), and on mobile phones including the iPhone!

Drop in for a download
Imagine having the entire city of San Francisco drop by each week for a visit. That’s close to what’s happening at The Sims 3 official community site, www.thesims3.com. The site welcomes up to 7 million unique visitors monthly, handles nearly 260 content downloads every minute, and more than 3.4 million uploads have been made to date including 12 movies each hour. Fan intensity is evidenced through the more than 200 million downloads of player created content including: The Sims characters, houses, stories and more.

It’s all about the hair
Over the years, the most popular downloaded content is hair, with over 670,000 downloads to date. The most popular style is female, long and wavy.

It started with a toilet
The first object ever created for The Sims was a toilet featured in the 1993 prototype. A variety of ways to interact with the toilet were introduced, from using it to cleaning it. According to the team, it was also the only object in the original game that different genders used differently—the men tended to leave the seat up!

The Sims go green
With the release of The Sims 3 in 2009, Sims can now be environmentally friendly. Not only can they live entirely off the land by growing their own food, but they can also reduce pollution by riding their bike or driving their Toyota Prius to work.

Hello neighbor!
In 2009, for the first time ever Sims can leave their homes with no loading screens and wander the neighborhood. Sims can go to the town square, ride their bikes to the beach and take a jaunt to the gym.

It’s A Material World
The Sims finally get their materialistic fix in 2006 with must have stuff to decorate, redesign or dress up new outfits. To date, there have been nine stuff packs which included items for your family, holiday, mansion, garden and of course, glamorous life.

Name Brand Envy
In 2008, nearly 1,000 H&M stores worldwide featured a garment designed by a player of The Sims for anyone to purchase. EA released The Sims 2 H&M Fashion Stuff pack, making Sims the trendiest on the block.

Home is where the heart is
IKEA® and The Sims collaborated in 2008 to make home the most important place on earth in The Sims with real-world IKEA home furnishings for the living spaces, bedroom and home office in your Sims’ homes.

Social!
With the launch of The Sims 3, Sims fans are online like never before with a Facebook page, MySpace, Twitter and YouTube. All together, The Sims have nearly three million friends online worldwide. That’s enough to fill up the largest stadium in the world, Rungrado May Day Stadium in North Korea, over four times. You can also play with your Sims in a new way with teaser experiences like SimSidekick, SimSocial and SimFriend.

Play it your way!
The appeal of The Sims is that there is no “right way” to play. Some players spend all their time building cool houses or following the personal lives of their Sims, while others like to create chaos wherever they go. Are you one of those players? If you have ever removed the pool ladder after sending your Sim in for a dip, then the answer is probably yes!

The Sims in Real Life
In 2004, EA Benelux created a real glass house where a family lived out their life for all to see in true The Sims style.

Before there was bird flu
Will Wright once introduced a mysterious virus to The Sims. As infection spread throughout the game, so did lively debate on the message boards. What was the source of the illness? Players finally traced it back to pet guinea pigs and shared tips for surviving the outbreak.

Feeling needy?
Like most of us, the Sims have aspirations, fears and needs. The model used in the game was inspired by “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.” According to Maslow people’s needs are based on a hierarchy and once basic needs are satisfied, people are motivated by less urgent needs.

Stamp of approval
The French love The Sims so much that the French postal service issued an official postal stamp honoring the game. For that, we say, “Merci!”

13 COMMENTS

  1. Great article.

    They won’t be on the top of the charts much longer if they don’t get their finger out. The Store is off putting and too expensive, and the Outdoor Stuff Pack is way to expensive for what it contains! They aren’t fixing enough of the basic problem bugs as can be seen on MATY.

    They also need to pay more attention to what the players want. We have all been asking for pets and weather since the Base game came out and still they don’t bring it out.

    They seem to think it will make people by more of the other packs but all it done here was make us stop buying any Sims stuff/EP packs untill they bring out Pets. If it is the last they bring out, then we will probably not bother and wait and see if a Sims 4 comes out, and ehat that contains…

  2. It’s quite depressing really. I was there from the start (well, six months later) when The Sims came out and it became one of the most addictive games I’d ever played on PC. It was quirky and humerous and the developers were in close contact with the fans, with regular IRC chats and discussion forums that hadn’t yet gone to hell.

    There was also the massive fan base. I came from the old days when almost every fan base had a presence on Usenet and alt.games.the-sims was one such place – a massive community, with over 300+ posts a day at its peak, and with members from the big fan sites posting there too (except for T$R and Mall Of The Sims – two of the biggest disgraces to ever hit the Sims scene). But then things started to go awry.

    2005 saw the arrival of The Sims 2. It was still quirky and fun, and it still very much had Will Wright’s sense of humour imbued in almost every level of the game. But, the community began to fragment, before splitting altogether between free and pay. EA started moving in on Maxis and the beancounters began exploring ways to get the fans to keep on paying long after they had purchased the game and expansions. The arrival of the Sims 2 Store and EA’s love affair with TSR and SecuROM signalled a shift away from that loyal fanbase, and a move towards monetisation and micro-transactions. Contact between the fans and the developers virtually vanished, and EPs post-Seasons clearly had a “design-by-committee” feel to them. Future EPs would contain an increasing number of bugs that the community would have to fix themselves and then we had the arrival of those awful Stuff Packs. The Sims name would be further exploited in a series of spinoffs – the Stories, MySims, Sims Online (in 2003) which went under a couple of name changes before finally biting the dust and whole load of crap not even related to the game itself.

    Then came The Sims 3. EA’s contempt for their fans reached a peak when an unfinished, broken product hit the shelves and half of the content had been clearly removed to be sold back to the fans in their Sims Store. The fanbase was ever more fragmented – the big sites like Mod The Sims and GoS began to take a back seat to the thousands of Livejournals and Dreamwidths that were to become the new homes of the modders, and a nightmare for anyone trying to keep track of their favourite creators’ mods.

    TSR grew increasingly nasty – hacking free sites, poaching creators, threatening legal action left right and centre (yeah, good luck with that), claiming an “exclusive” on Sims Medieval when in fact they took the pictures and article, almost word-for-word from a UK magazine called PC Format.

    EA grew so distant from the fanbase that they may as well had been on another planet by now. Overpriced Store items, bug-ridden EPs and virtually useless Stuff Packs are now the norm. Once again, it has been the community who has had to pick up the pieces and fix the problems EA couldn’t be arsed with (like a proper Story Mode that worked). The fan base has also, sadly grown smaller and smaller as people become increasingly frustrated with EA and their shoddy business practices and their associations with dodgy websites.

    Somehow, I think that had Will Wright never sold Maxis to EA, we would be discussing a far different, and more rewarding “franchise” (how I hate business-speak) today, instead of the half-arsed, bug-ridden, micro-transaction-based mess we have instead.


  3. uknortherner:

    It’s quite depressing really. I was there from the start (well, six months later) when The Sims came out and it became one of the most addictive games I’d ever played on PC. It was quirky and humerous and the developers were in close contact with the fans, with regular IRC chats and discussion forums that hadn’t yet gone to hell.
    There was also the massive fan base. I came from the old days when almost every fan base had a presence on Usenet and alt.games.the-sims was one such place – a massive community, with over 300+ posts a day at its peak, and with members from the big fan sites posting there too (except for T$R and Mall Of The Sims – two of the biggest disgraces to ever hit the Sims scene). But then things started to go awry.
    2005 saw the arrival of The Sims 2. It was still quirky and fun, and it still very much had Will Wright’s sense of humour imbued in almost every level of the game. But, the community began to fragment, before splitting altogether between free and pay. EA started moving in on Maxis and the beancounters began exploring ways to get the fans to keep on paying long after they had purchased the game and expansions. The arrival of the Sims 2 Store and EA’s love affair with TSR and SecuROM signalled a shift away from that loyal fanbase, and a move towards monetisation and micro-transactions. Contact between the fans and the developers virtually vanished, and EPs post-Seasons clearly had a “design-by-committee” feel to them. Future EPs would contain an increasing number of bugs that the community would have to fix themselves and then we had the arrival of those awful Stuff Packs. The Sims name would be further exploited in a series of spinoffs – the Stories, MySims, Sims Online (in 2003) which went under a couple of name changes before finally biting the dust and whole load of crap not even related to the game itself.
    Then came The Sims 3. EA’s contempt for their fans reached a peak when an unfinished, broken product hit the shelves and half of the content had been clearly removed to be sold back to the fans in their Sims Store. The fanbase was ever more fragmented – the big sites like Mod The Sims and GoS began to take a back seat to the thousands of Livejournals and Dreamwidths that were to become the new homes of the modders, and a nightmare for anyone trying to keep track of their favourite creators’ mods.
    TSR grew increasingly nasty – hacking free sites, poaching creators, threatening legal action left right and centre (yeah, good luck with that), claiming an “exclusive” on Sims Medieval when in fact they took the pictures and article, almost word-for-word from a UK magazine called PC Format.
    EA grew so distant from the fanbase that they may as well had been on another planet by now. Overpriced Store items, bug-ridden EPs and virtually useless Stuff Packs are now the norm. Once again, it has been the community who has had to pick up the pieces and fix the problems EA couldn’t be arsed with (like a proper Story Mode that worked). The fan base has also, sadly grown smaller and smaller as people become increasingly frustrated with EA and their shoddy business practices and their associations with dodgy websites.
    Somehow, I think that had Will Wright never sold Maxis to EA, we would be discussing a far different, and more rewarding “franchise” (how I hate business-speak) today, instead of the half-arsed, bug-ridden, micro-transaction-based mess we have instead.

    Thank you! Thank you!

  4. this was just the start. EA is out of control. Now EA has bought the rights to the NFL name in video games. which means Sega and Take Two(2K Sports) and others are out of the NFL video game business. i thank the cosmos that they were blocked from buying Take Two a few years back. If only Will Wright had enough to buy what was Maxis and it’s assets back from EA.

  5. It seems there are some angry people out there. I follow the series from the beginning and to tell you the truth there were always people that will complain about this and that. There were always bugs with the games no matter what. Remember Livin’ It Up!
    It stupid to think if EA were never involved with the Sims. Actually The Sims was shown to a big range of different publishers that just didn’t want to hear about the project. EA were the only publisher that said “OK, we will help you (Maxis) release this game.”
    It’s stupid to think that the Store as a whole is not needed. This kind of transactions are the future and EA are not the only one that are doing it.


  6. ludogego:

    It seems there are some angry people out there. I follow the series from the beginning and to tell you the truth there were always people that will complain about this and that. There were always bugs with the games no matter what. Remember Livin’ It Up!
    It stupid to think if EA were never involved with the Sims. Actually The Sims was shown to a big range of different publishers that just didn’t want to hear about the project. EA were the only publisher that said “OK, we will help you (Maxis) release this game.”
    It’s stupid to think that the Store as a whole is not needed. This kind of transactions are the future and EA are not the only one that are doing it.

    Uhhhh…. No. EA already bought Maxis when The Sims was pitched. They didn’t even want to put their name on the game on intial release. If you bought the game back in 2000 you would realize it was mostly Maxis’ logo on the box with a smaller EA logo on the back of the box. Then, after the explosive popularity of the game, they resdesigned the box to have that ugly blue EA Games banner across the bottom starting with LL and later prints of the original game.

    EA may not be the only one offering microtransactions, but removing a significant portion of the game and reselling it to customers who already bought the game is just sketchy. Their items are overpriced and buggy.

    Though uknortherner’s post had a few technical errors (e.g. TS2 was released in 2004), the essence of his/her post is quite reflective of the situation of the franchise.

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