Electronic Arts are Slowly Ruining The Sims Franchise
How they’re reaching news levels of greediness through micro-transactions.
It goes without saying one of Electronic Arts’ most popular franchises is The Sims. Since it made its debut on store shelves in 2000, the franchise is now known to be the most popular simulation game even through over two decades of being in an ever-changing gaming landscape.
Despite its widespread cult following from long-time fans, the fourth edition of the game, The Sims 4, has never been received as well as its predecessors. Between the lack of quality gameplay, surface-level decision making, and little longevity to the replayability, this game is played by many fans solely because it’s the current edition, not because it’s the best.
However, the poor development is not the only flaw in The Sims 4, but EA has been notorious when it comes to giving their consumers plenty of microtransactions.
How Does EA Divide Their DLC?
Like any other multimillion-dollar company, EA got greedy as its popularity rose and its relevance continued to stay consistent. More specifically, The Sims is a franchise that has always offered downloadable content for players to purchase and add to their game in the form of different “packs”.
The three types of packs include:
- Expansion Packs
Considered to be the most traditional kind of DLC. Expansion packs are set at $40 and include a major additional feature that adds more gameplay or changes a fundamental part of the gameplay.
One of the expansion packs is called “Snowy Escape” and gives a new world to build lots and play with Sims on, new gameplay by doing winter sports like skiing, and there's a new feature of your Sims having the ability to stay in a resort lodge.
Another expansion pack called The Sims 4: Seasons gives all of your existing world's weather from Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter along with holidays. Weather is going to play a huge role in changing a life simulation game.
In addition to new gameplay, every expansion pack comes with a collection of build-and-buy mode items to put in your Sims houses as well as new pieces to use on your Sims from hairstyles to wallpapers. This is the largest package of DLC you can buy for your base game.
2. Game Packs
This type of DLC was introduced during the era of The Sims 4. These packs are priced at $20 and have less content than an expansion pack, but more content than a stuff pack.
“A Game Pack provides us new gameplay features, new objects, and new clothing based on one central theme. Being able to expand your gameplay through a Game Pack allows us to give you some of the things you’ve been asking for…”
Basically, it’s a smaller expansion pack. There’s some gameplay, and a good amount of items for build-and-buy mode and create a sim, but not as much as an expansion pack.
3. Stuff Packs
Stuff packs are the smallest (until “Kits”) packs available for purchase at $10. The main content in these packs is build-and-buy items along with items to add to your Create-A-Sim mode.
Sometimes, items or features will be included in these packs that provide a minuscule amount of new gameplay. For example, in the Movie Hangout Stuff Pack, two build-and-buy mode items included a large movie projector screen and an electric popcorn popper. This gave your Sims the ability to pop popcorn and watch movies on a big screen in their backyard with their friends or neighbors.
More often than not, these packs aren’t worth the money, especially the ones made early on in The Sims 4’s lifetime. They only will pique your interest if you interested in the aesthetic of a specific pack.
Where Did The Sims 4 Take a Downfall?
Unlike older entries from the franchise, The Sims 4 has taken it upon itself to split the content into more packs than it normally has before. Essentially, you have to pay more for the same amount of content.
In fact, The Sims 4 is at a record-breaking number of DLC packs compared to its predecessors. As of March 2021, EA has released 10 expansion packs, 9 game packs, and 18 stuff packs, adding to a total of 37 DLC packs for one game.
To show how excessive The Sims 4 packs are, let’s break down the features in some of them compared to the features in a single Sims 2 expansion pack.
The Sims 2 came out in 2004 and The Sims 2: Nightlife Expansion Pack came out in 2006. Some of the features added to the game include:
- A city-themed world
- Vampires and Gypsy Matchmakers
- DJ Skill
- New Nightclubs and Restaurants (for dates, gatherings, etc.)
- 125 New Objects
Meanwhile, if you want all of those features in The Sims 4, you will need:
The Sims 4: Get Together (Expansion Pack)
- DJ Skill
- New Nightclubs and Cafes
- New Club System; gives your Sims the ability to make clubs with personalized interests and host gatherings.
The Sims 4: City Living (Expansion Pack)
- City-themed world
- No Cars, At All…
The Sims 4: Vampires (Game Pack)
- Vampires (sadly, no gypsies, just vampires)
In conclusion, if you want to make your own DIY expansion of The Sims 2: Nightlife into your Sims 4 game and get almost all of the same features, it will cost you $100 as opposed to the price of one expansion pack.
If that hasn’t scared you enough, if you want a fully decked out Sims 4 game with all of the DLC, it will cost you $760 plus the cost of taxes and the base game.
And not only are you paying more for the same amount of content, but it’s also a watered-down version of The Sims 2. There are tons of Reddit forums of Sims players everywhere explaining all of the reasons why the gameplay is just not up to par like it was in The Sims 2 and The Sims 3.
Regardless of traits, aspirations, or relationship levels, every Sim acts the same to each on a shallow level. This alone makes the game boring and you are ready to stop playing after only an hour or two if that.
Now, What Are “Kits” And Why is The Sims Community Angry?
“Kits are mini-collections of content made to boost your playstyle with more choices — and more ways for you to Play With Life!”
In other words, this is the marketing team really trying to stretch out the inch they were given into a mile for consumers. On a scale with the other Sims 4 DLC, Kits are even smaller than stuff packs. Each Kit is priced at $5.
The goal of Kits is to provide players with one set of a specific object around a theme. This is an alternative to buying an entire stuff pack only to use the fraction of items they were interested in and prevents them from wasting their money on content they won’t take advantage of.
The three Kits released are the following:
- Throwback Fit Kit
- Country Kitchen Kit
- Bust the Dust Kit
The Throwback Fit Kit is a set of vibrant 90s inspired outfits your Sims can wear. The Country Kitchen Kit is a set of new country-style kitchen appliances, cabinets, and countertops players can put in their house.
Finally, the Bust the Dust Kit gives Sims vacuums so they can clean their house. I’m not sure whoever thought anyone wanted to vacuum in their video game is beyond me. If Sims do not clean their house regularly, live dust bunnies will start to spawn around the home.
Are any of these worth $5 each? The short answer is no.
EA already has a history of splitting up content they’ve knowingly made in past entries together into as many possible current packs to make more sales. Obviously, this is how business works, but it seems to have exponentially increased in recent years.
Only having three of these Kits may not seem like a lot right now, but it seems likely EA developers are going to release more of these. This could easily snowball into making more of these cash grabs.
The more that Sims players continue to accept the spoonfuls of content they’re getting, the more it is going to give EA the green light to keep going.
Maybe this is my own personal opinion when it comes to buying games, but I do not like to be nickeled and dimed for bite-sized pieces of content that I’ll be over in five minutes.
If you bought all three Kits right now for $15, what if three more come out next week? Or a whole catalog of them the week after that? This is clearly another pit stop for them to collect some money and you’re not even getting worthwhile gameplay in return.
The only way for this to stop is to disengage. Business is all about supply and demand, and if no one demands it, it will inevitably fade away into the distance. But until that happens, Electronic Arts long ago sold The Sims franchise to Satan for money, as it seems the quality of the final products is not the priority in the eyes of the development team anymore.