There is no denying that The Sims 4, EA Games’ latest installment in the popular life simulation franchise, has been steeped in controversy since it’s September 2014 release. The Sims 4 has been has been torched by professionals and independents in the gaming media. It’s been the subject of ire and disappointment from fans. It was often named one of the most disappointing games of 2014. Well, it turns out we may all owe EA Games an apology.
That’s because the Entertainment Software Association just released it’s report 2015 Essential Facts which covers numerous aspects of the video game industry including sales. According to the report, The Sims 4 was the highest selling PC game of 2014. In fact, The Sims 4 and all but one The Sims 3 era title on the list beat out Dragon Age: Inquisition, which was PC Gamer’s pick for Best Single Player Game of 2014. The Sims 4 was the highest selling game of 2014, yet no game magazine or reporter pegged it as anything other than a disappointment. How could so many have been so wrong?
Well, to begin with, in December of 2014,when the year end lists were compiled, there wasn’t much good news about The Sims 4 to report. Toddlers, ghosts, and swimming pools, features which had long been part of The Sims franchise, were removed from The Sims 4. Story Progression, a mainstay of The Sims 3, was available in The Sims 4, but only in a very limited form. Mac users were unable to play the game at all. Fans of the series suspected that EA Games planned to add the features as premium downloadable content or in expansion packs and threatened to leave the fanbase if the features weren’t added for free. So, what saved The Sims 4?
Most likely, a combination of customer service, humility, and the modding community. Every month since it’s September 2014 release, the development team has released a game patch, most of which added new features. Ghosts and swimming pools appeared before December 2014. A recent expansion pack added basements for users who didn’t purchase the first expansion pack, The Sims 4: Get to Work.
Executive producer Rachel Franklin explained the problem to Kotaku in a recent interview.
“Honestly, we didn’t meet player expectations at launch, and that was a difficult pill to swallow. Seeing the reaction after launch, we knew we had to dig in and find out why some players weren’t happy.”
“Dig in” is the best way to describe what EA did after the lukewarm launch of The Sims 4. February 2015 was an unofficial month of The Sims, with EA having huge sales on The Sims 4 games, giving players free downloadable content, and offering those still on the fence a chance to play the game for free for a limited time.
The Sims 4: Get to Work, was better received than it’s base game, and while toddlers still haven’t been added to the game, a mod called Get to School, has gone a long way to adding much needed functionality to the childhood and teenage life stages.
So, while The Sims 4 isn’t perfect yet, it is improving, and for now at least, that may be the best fans can hope for.
[Image via Bing]