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Rod Humble - Sims expansions are "additive"

EA Play boss explains that half of new packs cater to demands of the fanbase

Rod Humble, the head of the EA Play label, has defended the company's policy of releasing regular expansion packs for The Sims games over the years, by explaining that if there wasn't customer demand it simply wouldn't make good business sense to produce them.

Electronic Arts has come in for criticism in the past for a tactic which was seen by some as cashing-in on the game's popularity - despite nowadays the concept of expansions, downloadable content and sequels becoming a perfectly accepted, and expected, part of a franchise's lifecycle.

"I've heard [the criticism] over the years - when we opened the Store, which enables you to buy selected items of furniture, and now with Sims 3 I hear it a bit as well," he said.

"My perspective is that first of all, this is additive stuff - so if we weren't making the expansion packs or the extra content and charging for it, we wouldn't be building it. It's not like anybody is losing anything if they're thinking they could have gotten it for free - I assure you, I've seen the profit-and-loss, we just couldn't afford to do it from a business perspective.

"The second thing is, from a player perspective, I've always been in the opposite camp and I just don't get it. I just wanted more stuff for my game that I loved. I like my extra Burnout cars, I like the extra content I get in the games - I like the extra content in Fallout, I like the game so much I want more stuff.

"So to me, I like it, and I think that for a lot of our core players they'd say they love it. I just think that for the players that don't have it, they feel like they're falling behind if they don't have all the expansion packs, and to help serve them is over time we put out a value price compilation - say the first two expansions bundled for a lower price. There's a significant proportion of players who wait for that, they know it's coming and they can afford to wait a year or two, get the whole lot in one go."

Humble also revealed that the majority of sales for the original Sims title actually came after the launch of The Sims 2, while expansions for the latter title still sit high in the PC charts today - some several years after being released.

"There's just so much value in those games - if you bought The Sims 2 compilation now it would keep you busy for a very, very long time, and I think that value is recognised," he said.

The full interview with Rod Humble is available now, in parts one and two.

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