The Sims Sells 100 Million

By Jim Rossignol on April 16th, 2008 at 7:29 am.


An unimaginable number of little computer people have now been created and probably sent to work against their will by cackling human overlords.

“At this milestone, we want to thank players of The Sims everywhere for making The Sims such a worldwide phenomenon,” said Rod Humble, Head of Studio for The Sims Label. “The Sims has been an interactive experience for people around the globe to explore their passion for creativity and we’re thrilled to be a part of that. From building houses and relationships, from the first kiss to a toddler’s first step, from kitchen fires – and even visits from ghosts, players have told more than 100 million unique and fun stories!”

What’s perhaps most remarkable about this is how few games have actually tried to imitate The Sims or cash in on the success of the series. I can really only think of a handful of other games, and few of those have the same kind of universality. Anyway, good work Sims designers, looks like you’ve proved you don’t need a gun lurking at the bottom of the screen after all…

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32 Comments »

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  1. cullnean says:

    i tried to like it i really did.

    also what coh sever you guys on?

  2. Jim Rossignol says:

    Victory? Possibly.

  3. Larington says:

    You might find this article of interest, its about the prototyping thats been done for the third Sims game:
    http://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/prototyping-the-sims-3

  4. Seniath says:

    In my entire life I have played the Sims for maybe two hours tops. I spent a while building my real life house in-game, then got bored and trapped some people in the swimming pool. And then promptly uninstalled it.

  5. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    I have never played the Sims but feel I ought to give it a go. Sims 3 looks likes the place to start.

  6. roBurky says:

    This is The Sims? Not The Sims 2?

  7. Jim Rossignol says:

    This is the entire Sims franchise, it seems.

  8. Mike says:

    The Sims is actually a game I don’t play simply because I’m rubbish at it. I don’t get the boredom, I just get the crippling sense of failure and depression.

    Oh wait, life simulation. Aha! Ah ha. Ha.

  9. John P (Katsumoto) says:

    Well I think it’s bloody ace. There is this weird macho thing in the “hardcore” gaming scene where people try and out-do each other in terms of professing their hatred for the Sims. It’s what the cool kids do. See any EG article where the Sims is mentioned for more. And RPS article :P. Nah, just kidding, i’m aware it’s possible to genuinely dislike it. Maybe.

  10. Sam says:

    It’s not so much a macho thing, judging from my own experience, as a total failure to “get” it.
    After building a house, and being frustrated at Sims not being able to move at a normal human pace, I gave up trying – but, of course, I don’t complain about the lack of realism in other genres. I think part of the issue here is that I took the whole “the Sims is a life simulation” thing to heart, and therefore unconsciously expected it to not alter things to make it more “challenging”; thus, when I discovered that it takes a Sim about half a day to have a shower or go to the toilet, I became frustrated. Rather than adjusting my internal model of the game, I decided not to bother with it anymore.
    What I wanted was a game that let me play (like, for example, Sim Earth let you have a “god” mode with unlimited resources), but what I got was a game that made me work. Clearly, there must be something fun about The Sims, since it’s been a huge success as a franchise, and I know people who very much enjoy playing it and the sequels…

  11. Ian says:

    I genuinely dislike The Sims, but not just for being The Sims… the likes of Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing and Second Life don’t appeal to me either.

    Even Sim City, which I really wanted to like, never held my attention for more than a day or two (not solid, obviously. :-P)

  12. fluffy bunny says:

    I just reinstalled Sims 2 and my five or so expansions (that. took. ages.), and I’m loving it. But, of course, with Pathologic, Trials 2 and now TrackMania United Forever, I’m not finding much time to my sims atm…

    Anyway, The Sims deserves its success. Some of the expansions have been crap, but overall it’s a quality franchise.

  13. Jim Rossignol says:

    The Sims is incredibly important to making sure that gaming includes more than shooting/conquering/stealing cars. Even if shooting/conquering/stealing cars is your thing, you should be glad of this kind of variety in gaming. Cross-pollination of ideas is going to keep things fresh.

  14. Sam says:

    The Sims, or simulation games in general?
    I’m all for more Sim City, or sequels to stuff like Sim Earth and Sim Life – it’s purely “The Sims” that I don’t get on with.

    (That said, of course variety is important. And, honestly, no-one who’s posted here saying that they dislike The Sims has disagreed – they’re just noting that they don’t “get” it. I, for one, would love to be able to “get” The Sims, since people who do “get” it seem to enjoy playing it immensely. Unfortunately, I seem to be unable to do so…)

  15. cliffski says:

    BLATANT PLUG WARNING.
    If you liked the ‘idea’ of the sims, but found the actual gameplay frustrating, you might like my spin on the life sim:
    KUDOS
    It’s a turn based, strategic 2D version, which boils it down to the life decisions, rather than playing it as a pseudo arcade game. The sims is often a battle against time, whereas kudos is more a chin scratching game of decisions.
    It looks a bit dark and downbeat, but the next version will be much nicer looking.
    And yay for the sims, I am looking forward to Sims 3 as much as I am Spore. it seems EA/Maxis are teh gods right now (along with infinity ward).

  16. heliocentricity says:

    shooting/conquering/stealing cars.

    well… you can conquer in the sims, and steal things, so i call that 2 out of 3.

    I wish more latent AI things were in other games, i wish guards in fps’s (and stealth games) had to go for a leak even things like, you break the coffee machine in splinter cell, come back 4 hours later and all the guards are slurly and drowsey.

    In brothers in arms your character could build up a relationship with his teammates and they would do more daring things for him due to their faith in his ability, unless they die that is.

    a map creator for games which was as natural and instinctive as the house builder in the sims

    and I’d love to trap barney in a swimming pool, but thats different

  17. Bidermaier says:

    I might get Sims 3 if i felt like pretending i am not a liveless nerd.

    in other news Trackmania United has been updated to “Forever”. You should write about it.

  18. Fedora.Pirate says:

    I am one of those who “gets” the sims, I think a part of it is I find alot of it fairly basic and simple compaired with Real Life. So I generally do alright in it simply by looking at the key components that make up the game, so I find it easy to succeed in the game – unlike real life. I will play 2 semesters of a University sim making sure they’re both popular and maintaining perfect A+ grades in one night. When the next day I have a real assignment due at a real university that I haven’t even started.
    My biggest complaint with the sims is that the hardest point is at the very start of the game when your Sim has no friends, money. When the more of these you get the “easier” the game becomes.

  19. Bob Arctor says:

    Cliff you cheeky bugger!
    I think the Sims is fun for experimenting, but I got bored fairly quickly once I’d tried my various oddball families out. I like failure or simple survival in odd situations more than boring old success.

    The girlfriend uninstalled her copy of the Sims 2 when I gave her Sim City 4, she prefered it much more, I agree really. But I’m glad the Sims is about, it gets non-gamers gaming.

    For me 2D dwarves have more personality though, and I can personalise a fortress better than a house.

  20. cliffski says:

    but why oh why oh why is there not a fantasy or scifi version of the sims?
    DS9 was just a soap opera in space. There was a ‘moon colony’ game or somesuch once but it was a bit drab. if someone did a total conversion of the sims for star trek, I’d be well into it :D.

  21. Jay says:

    I liked The Sims! Well, sort of. I really much preferred to build houses and buildings – that was the best part for me, which is a hangover from my Simcity days. I let my sister play the game proper though, making me build the houses.

  22. heliocentricity says:

    but why oh why oh why is there not a fantasy or scifi version of the sims?

    Different markets though, scifi isnt tuned at being open to everyone.

    That said, they could simply have it so sim3 had different/custom villages which could be anything, a space station for example.

    I always used to make the outsides of my sims houses as orwellian as possible, when my girlfriend played she’d see these black and grey monoliths on the horizon and people, whole famalies of identical black suited men would visit her.

    Ah… the Gnome villa, a 4 story building, build underground the top covered in gnomes, owned by a familiy dressed like gnomes (custom skin) who work in a gnome production sweat shop.

  23. Adel says:

    I played and enjoyed the original Sims. I also played and enjoyed Kudos (and Rock Legend!). Can’t wait to see Kudos 2, Cliff.

    I don’t know about other people, but The Sims scratched my consumerist side’s itch and let my inner [nightmarish] interiour designer shine!

  24. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yeah, there’s a definite gap for The Sims: Spaceship.

  25. Jockie says:

    I can’t say i’m wholly surprised to see this. The Sims damn it’s black heart is the only game that ever managed to get my mother addicted to it.

    For a period after the first game came out i would find her sat in front of my PC for hours playing it, and well, i don’t think i’ve ever seen her play a computer game before or since. Talk about Universal appeal.

  26. James says:

    As others have mentioned, the Sims has a gateway drug capacity like no other game I’ve ever seen. Most people I’ve put onto it only play it for a while, but sometimes all that’s important is putting the foot in the door, so to speak. It’s sort of like a great big show of “see what games can be?”

    Personally, I love the idea a lot more than the execution. I can play it for a while, but I’ve spent far, far more time in the character creation and house renovation side of things than I have actually *playing* the game, but I don’t know that there’s anything wrong with that. Those editors have an incredible intuitiveness to them, which is always nice to see.

  27. Dave says:

    To my wife, the Sims is a dollhouse, Lego set, storytelling medium, and a kind of Garry’s Mod for creating illustrations, as well as a challenging game. She has mastered all the command-line cheats, and regularly recolors and retextures clothing and objects. She has all kinds of opinions about how the tools and AI could be improved, and the fashion sense of the artists.

    To me it was a horrible bore. Too much work to tell mini-me when to relieve himself. I always died of depression or burned to death trying to cook. That’s a little too much like real life. :)

  28. malkav11 says:

    Space Colony was the Sims-clone in space. Kinda. (You can’t create the characters, which I think is part of the draw of the Sims.) It’s pretty fun and available on Gametap, in the US.

  29. Turin Turambar says:

    I played for 3 or 4 days the first one. That’s it.

  30. Stromko says:

    I actually spent a lot of time with The Sims and Sims 2, and I’m STILL cynical about it as a whole. The headline that the Sims has sold 100 million copies might be good for EA’s stock price, but really means nothing considering they’ve released about a hundred different Sims-branded games.

    The vast majority of products were horrid and cheap, either avoiding the novel Sims gameplay altogether (every console variant) or charging 30$ for a few hours of poorly balanced content (every expansion).

    So, it’s not unlikely they’re still making insane profits on the series, no matter how many products it took to reach 100 million sold.

  31. Dean says:

    “There was a ‘moon colony’ game or somesuch once but it was a bit drab. if someone did a total conversion of the sims for star trek, I’d be well into it :D”

    Startopia maybe? Played it recently, it’s good fun.

    It’s amazing that The Sims was THE next big thing for a long while, until it actually came out. Even then the reviews were positive.

  32. sinister agent says:

    Well done Maxis and EA’s slave drones, aye, but well done too (or comiserations, depending on your outlook) to the legions of fans who made the custom content that EA simply hoovered up and sold as expansion packs.

    The Sims 2 is pretty fun, but if helps if you have a high frustration threshold and don’t expect it to work properly – it’s buggy as hell (largely because it appears to have been bashed together using code from the first, so I have low expectations for the next one frankly), but those bugs can lead to great amusement simply because they cause such weird and sometimes unsettling behaviour.

    To get the most out of it, you need to treat it the way Maxis were always banging on about in the 90s with their -city/-ant/-life ‘software toy’ spiel, and just screw around with it. Unleash your inner soft furnisher, maid impregnator and bisexual casanova. I’ve no time for the people who’ll joylessly grind a ho-hum FPS to unlock everything but pour scorn on Sims fans because it’s not about macho men waving around their 9mm.