During a recent earnings call, EA CEO Andrew Wilson was asked if the studio has any plans on releasing a new online version of the franchise. Wilson’s response was surprisingly enthusiastic and informative.
“Great question on The Sims,” says Wilson. “As we think about The Sims – again, I reference the motivations of why we play the games – inspiration, escape, social interaction, creation, self-improvement, competition. Typically what The Sims has done is really focus on fulfilling the motivations and inspiration, escape, creation, self-improvement and not necessarily focus as much as on social interaction and competition.”
That sounds like Wilson is shutting down the notion of a new online version of The Sims, but he ended his statement with some surprisingly more hopeful words.
“As Maxis continues to think about The Sims for a new generation,” Wilson concludes, “cross-platforms and a cloud of a neighborhood world, you should imagine while we will always stay true to our inspiration, escape, creation, self-improvement, motivations – that this notion of social interactions and competition like the kind of things that were actually present in The Sims Online many many years ago – that they will start to become a part of The Sims experience in the years to come.”
Wilson also notes that The Sims is “a game that really doesn’t have any competition in its category for delivering and fulfilling these motivations for players” and that EA things that there are “tremendous growth opportunities for us for many many years to come.” Furthermore, he states that while The Sims doesn’t feature much “competition in an original sports sense” he does believe there’s a rising feeling of competition in the game in terms of how players “create and what they create and how they use their imaginations and what they’re able to build inside of these Sims universes.”
So what should we take from all of this? Well, there are rumors that EA is working on a new Sims game, but we’re not sure those are strong enough at the moment to put much stock in. This statement, though, is far more intriguing. It stops short of confirming a new Sims title, but it does suggest that an eventual sequel could emphasize online elements nad interactions in a way that we haven’t seen since The Sims Online launched in 2002.
So far as that goes, it’s worth pointing out that The Sims Online turned out to be a notable and ambitious failure that suffered from a broken economy and an emphasis on mechanics that didn’t feel like they really translated the best of The Sims core gameplay into an online world. You could argue it tried a little too hard to be closer to an MMO.
While we don’t know if EA would ever release another Sims game that relied on online interactions and mechanics quite that much, it’s certainly reasonable to suggest that an eventual Sims sequel will feature more ways for players to interact with each other and share their worlds.
Matthew Byrd is a staff writer for Den of Geek. He spends most of his days trying to pitch deep-dive analytical pieces about Killer Klowns From Outer Space to an increasingly perturbed series of editors. You can read more of his work here or find him on Twitter at @SilverTuna014.