Sales figures of The Sims 4 are in, and Maxis may have a problem on their hands. While series predecessor The Sims 3 sold 1.4 million physical copies in it’s first week, The Sims 4 has failed to match those sales figures nearly four months after it’s release. The bad press for Electronic Arts goes back to 2013. Fans of the long running SimCity franchise were excited for the debut of the 2013 reboot, only to encounter a rash of technical problems. More devastating from a public relations standpoint was the decision to require users to have a constant internet connection in order to play the game.
After the disastrous release of SimCity, Electronic Arts needed a clear win in the simulation category. They needed The Sims 4 to be a major hit, but early on things looked problematic.
Long-time fans of The Sims franchise compiled lists of nearly 100 features from The Sims 3 which were not retained in The Sims 4. Some of the missing features, such as the lack of the “open neighborhood” — which was a hallmark of The Sims 3 era games — were advertised features of The Sims 4, and likely can’t or won’t be added back. Other features, such as inheritance and university attendance, were added by expansion packs, and may still be added to The Sims 4 in the same fashion. Features such as the toddler life stage, ghosts, and swimming pools drew the most ire from fans. Many fans of The Sims franchise believed that the features were removed to be added to expansion packs for sale later.
Maxis and Electronic Arts have never confirmed that theory. In fact, they offered a different take. Rachel Franklin, a Maxis employee, said the reason the features were removed was to allow developers to focus on other, more time consuming features.
“So, rather than include toddlers, we chose to go deeper on the features that make Sims come alive: meaningful and often amusing emotions; more believable motion and interactions; more tools in Create A Sim, and more realistic Sim behavior.”
Toddlers, ghosts, and swimming pools were all added via free content patches within three months of The Sims 4‘s release.
Now Maxis has announced what it calls a game pack. In promotional material, developers of The Sims 4 have likened the next game pack, The Sims 4: Outdoor Retreat, to a supercharged version of stuff packs from previous eras in The Sims franchise. If that’s the case, The Sims 4 may feature two 2015 releases: the game pack due in January and a larger expansion pack later in the year.
Will the new game pack be enough to make up for the missing features? Are you waiting for more content before you purchase The Sims 4?