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Analyst: Sims 3 to sell 4 million this year

Plus EA details online components, including micro-transaction and community plans

Janco Partners analyst Mike Hickey has predicted that the latest title in the Sims franchise - The Sims 3, set for release at the beginning of June - could sell up to 4 million units in 2009.

That's an expectation that would place it in performance terms above that of The Sims 2, which launched in 2004 and sold 3.5 million units that year - although Hickey believes that there will be an impact of the "demographic transition towards newer entertainment forms like Nintendo's Wii and DS", reports Gamasutra.

Meanwhile EA has also announced its plans regarding online content for the game, including an online store which will allow players to purchase SimPoints to spend on downloading various in-game items.

Examples of such items weren't given, but the game will ship with a starting amount equivalent to USD 10 (or local currency), and further bundles of 500, 1000 and 2000 points can then be added to a player's account.

When the game launches the website, TheSims3.com, will become more focused on social networking aspects, with users given tools to share their content with other players, or embed them on other networking sites or blogs.

"With such a vibrant and active community as The Sims has, we wanted to build even further on the already immense offline experience, by offering players additional functionality, content and tools available online through the game," said Ben Bell, executive producer on the game.

"One example of the many online tools we've added to the game is the Create a Movie tool. Within the game, players can easily set up the camera angle they want, capture in-game footage, play director and producer and then post their movies online to show off to the world."

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