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The Sims 3: Facts and Figures

Charting the rise and rise of one of the most popular franchises in the history of the industry

The Sims franchise cemented its place in the videogames Hall of Fame last August with the news that over 100 million units - including the original titles and expansions - had been sold in just eight years.

It all started in 1993, when Will Wright's Maxis studio first developed the architectural prototype for the game that would become the original Sims game, which was followed shortly afterwards by the acquisition of the studio by Electronic Arts.

The game itself wasn't released until seven years later, but quickly became a PC best-seller - a position it would hold for the next four years.

That first game was also one of the first to fully realise the potential of the expansions business, with Livin' Large releasing later in the year, followed in 2001 by House Party and Hot Date.

In 2002 two more expansions followed - Vacation and Unleashed, while The Sims Online made its debut, and took the honour of being the first videogame ever to make the cover of Newsweek.

2003 meanwhile saw further expansions released, along with the console edition of the game - but in 2004 it was dethroned as most popular PC game when The Sims 2 came out as the biggest PC launch in EA's history.

That title, too, followed the now tried-and-trusted expansions route, with a number of them selling so well that they remained in the PC chart's top ten for several years.

Meanwhile Will Wright moved on to create Spore, a new IP for EA released last year, and The Sims business was set up first as its own label within the publisher, and then as part of EA Play.

Now, in the launch week for The Sims 3 - which analysts predict could sell 4 million units before the end of 2009 - The Sims 2 and several of its expansions remain high up in PC charts around the world.

Here are some more facts and figures about the franchise.

  • The Sims games have been translated into 22 different languages (including Russian and Thai) and shipped to 60 countries across the world.
  • The Sims franchise was one of the first games to not just pull in huge PC gaming numbers, but a roughly equal gender split.
  • An official postage stamp picturing two Sims and the green diamond icon was released in France.
  • The official community website for The Sims 2 attracts over 4 million visitors per month at peak times, and has hosted over 25 million downloads of custom content created by the game's fanbase.
  • The first ever object created for the game back in 1993 was a toilet - a number of different interactions with the object were also created, from using it to cleaning it, while male characters tended to use it differently from females (standing up and sitting down, respectively).
  • The Sims' set of aspirations were programmed according to a model inspired by Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs, which states that people are motivated by needs - once basic needs have been satisfied, a person then become motivated by less urgent requirements.
  • Will Wright once introduced a mysterious virus to the game, and as the infection spread throughout the game's world, so did 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.

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