High Price Point for A Broken Game: EA is Ruining “The Sims” 

The Sims 4 Cover Art taken from Steam

By Eden Lawrence

 

   Longtime fans of The Sims franchise, commonly known as “Simmers,” are angry with the parent company, Electronic Arts, and their handling of the treasured game. While things have been smooth sailing for the majority of its run, many Simmers, myself included, are growing tired of how the fourth mainline game is being handled.

   The Sims is a life simulation game in which players create characters and control their everyday lives. The franchise has been going strong for 24 years now, with four mainline games, eight spinoff games, and two mobile apps. EA decided to make “The Sims 4” free to download on both console and PC, leaving the source of income to be mainly downloadable content (DLC), downloadable content that adds different gameplay features and customization options for characters. 

   There are four different types of DLC packs for purchase: Expansion Packs which run for $40, Game Packs which run for $20, Stuff Packs which run for $10, and Kits which run for $5. If someone wanted to buy all 15 Expansion Packs, 12 Game Packs, 20 Stuff Packs, and 27 Kits, they would have to spend $1,175. This number is only expected to grow as “The Sims 4” is set to release more packs and kits this year. However, packs for The Sims 4 are constantly underdeveloped and leaving players with game-breaking bugs, which are my biggest problems with how EA operates.

   It’s no secret to longtime Simmers that EA has been breaking down packs to resell them at a different price. From “The Sims 1” to “The Sims 3,” there was always an Expansion Pack called “Pets,” which, as the name suggests, allowed players to buy animal companions for their characters. These pets would range from cats to dogs, horses to reptiles, etc. However, in “The Sims 4,” these animals are split into different packs, requiring $90 for gameplay that would, in the past, cost $40. One of these packs was rendered useless without the other. 

   The “Cats & Dogs” Expansion Pack was released on Nov. 10, 2017, only giving Simmers the option to get those two animals for their characters’ households. On March 13, 2018, EA released the “My First Pet” Stuff Pack which came with small rodent pets. The biggest slight to “The Sims” community was that this pack came with objects like pet bowls, pet beds, and clothing options fit for cats and dogs. Many of the furniture options matched the ones seen in “Cats and Dogs.” The “My First Pet” Stuff Pack became infamous among Simmers as the first ever “DLC for DLC,” as a lot of items required the purchase of a different pack to be usable in-game.

   Another instance of a pack being split up and resold is the fan-favorite Expansion Pack from “The Sims 3: Generations.” “Generations” expanded on family gameplay and included new activities for characters. This introduced features like school dances, bachelor(ette) parties, a new daycare profession, treehouses, and functional video cameras. This expansion pack is so highly praised in the community that on the official Sims YouTube channel its announcement trailer has garnered 6.6 million views, the highest of any Sims pack to date. Simmers were anticipating a “Generations”-esque expansion pack for “The Sims 4” but were disappointed with what was given to them. All the contents of “Generations” were split up between six packs, totaling $140 instead of the $40 Simmers paid back in 2011.

   The greatest sin EA often commits is releasing packs that are buggy and, on occasion, break people’s games. Out of their five most recently released packs, four of them caused visual bugs and caused game files to become corrupted. People’s save data has been wiped due to complications of new packs, and whenever a patch is released to fix those problems, a new one arises. Some packs have been broken for years with still no sign of fixes to come. The infamous game pack, “My Wedding Stories,” had a slew of problems when it was first released. These problems were mainly pathfinding issues–characters were not moving where they were directed–leading to not-so-happy ceremonies. This pack was released on Feb. 23, 2022 and remains broken to this day.

   My anger with EA isn’t geared towards the fact that they are making multiple packs, but geared towards them not making an effort to fix packs. With this game’s high price tag, I would think that they’d want to put plenty of resources towards the game to upkeep customer satisfaction, but sadly this is not the case. At this rate, I think only two things could make EA step up their game. First, is a new life simulation game competitor. The Sims has had a monopoly on this genre for years, and if another game came around and tilted its crown, EA might come to its senses and realize a shift in the community is plausible. 

   The second possibility is for consumers to “vote with their wallets” and stop buying packs until all issues are addressed. The only way EA would know that the community is fed up with the current routine is by targeting their pocket directly. 

 

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