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The Sims 4 promises "single-player offline experience"

The always-online that tripped up SimCity won't be present in next Sims

Electronic Arts and Maxis announced The Sims 4 for PC and Mac today, with a planned release date in 2014. Unlike Maxis' other recent title, SimCity, The Sims 4 will be skipping an always-online infrastructure.

"The Sims 4 celebrates the heart and soul of the Sims themselves, giving players a deeper connection with the most expressive, surprising and charming Sims ever in this single-player offline experience," said the press release. "The Sims 4 encourages players to personalize their world with new and intuitive tools while offering them the ability to effortlessly share their creativity with friends and fans."

According to Maxis, The Sims series has sold more than 150 million units worldwide. That's spread across 3 games, 24 expansions, and 18 stuff packs, with another two expansions coming this year for The Sims 3.

SimCity was dogged by issues related to its always-online nature, with the game experiencing severe server problems at launch. EA Maxis general manager Lucy Bradshaw said the choice to require an online connection was "fundamental to the vision" the studio had for the game. Despite the issues, the game still topped 1.1 million in sales in its first two weeks.

In a recent interview with GamesIndustry International, SimCity and The Sims creator and designer Will Wright called the issues experienced by players during the SimCity launch "inexcusable".

"I could have predicted - I kind of did predict there'd be a big backlash about the DRM stuff. It's a good game; I enjoy playing it a lot," Wright said. "That was basically inexcusable, that you charge somebody $60 for a game and they can't play it. I can understand the outrage. If I was a consumer buying the game and that happened to me, I'd feel the same."

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Latest comments (4)

It says a lot that a "offline-play" mode is now tauted as a "feature" within games.
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Axel Cushing Games Editor 3 years ago
I guess I'm waiting for them to announce they're bringing "offline play" to SimCity, since the persistent connection doesn't seem to be fundamental to the technical functioning of the game. 'Course, the studio's "vision" might be considered a higher priority than, you know, having a working game.
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Mary Hilton Community Manager, Reclaim Your Game3 years ago
EA is not totally stupid: if they had even dared to breathe the words "on-line" near the Sims franchise, there would have been a total revolt from every single player of the Sims series. As it is Sims 3 players do not like the Social aspect of their game, and they've been very vocal in their dislike of it.

We take our game very seriously, and EA would have lost 99% of their fandom instantly with such a stupid move. They had no choice but to keep it off-line and single player, given that every single Sims forum in existence always had the single question: "Would you buy Sims 4 if it's on-line play only?", to which the most repeated answer was "NO!", over and over again.

EA has done many stupid and insane things, but when it's a question that is on their own Sims 3 forums time after time, with the same answer, they had to listen. Sim City is one thing-but the Sims franchise is a far more beloved franchise than the Sim City was, and you don't mess with success or with the incredibly loyal fanbase of that franchise.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Mary Hilton on 8th May 2013 12:22am

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Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys! 3 years ago
@Mary: Or you DO mess with it and tell people it's a good thing that you did because it will make the experience "better" (only to fail miserably at that convincing part). I hope EA has learned not to muck with what works and knocks off the New Coke thing they're getting some gamers riled about. As usual, we'll see...
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