The Sims is the most famous life-simulator series on the planet. The first game in the series, The Sims, was created by Maxis and lead by Will Wright on February 4, 2000. Now, the series is published by both Maxis and Electronic Arts.
Before there was The Sims, Maxis was releasing many titles focusing on other simulations, such as SimCity, SimEarth, SimAnt, etc. However, SimEarth and SimAnt were expected to be the next groundbreaking ‘Sim’ games after SimCity, yet in the end, they both weren’t a success nor had many sales. When the team released 3D Pinball for Windows in 1995, Maxis was going through a string of failures and almost closed down. It was then Electronic Arts (EA) acquired Maxis in 1997 to give them another shot, and the next title to release under Maxis and EA was The Sims.
The idea behind The Sims began after Maxis designer Will Wright and his family’s home was burnt down in the 1990s. During the process of shopping for new furniture, Wright thought to himself why people would buy things, and that would make them happy or fulfill certain needs. That’s when Wright focused on creating a simulation game where the player would build houses, buy furniture, and communicate with other ‘sims.’ In February 2000, The Sims was released with features that weren’t present in any other game, creating a whole new subgenre in the Simulation Category.
There are now four major releases of The Sims on various platforms:
- The Sims 1
- The Sims 2
- The Sims 3
- The Sims 4
These games have the same focus: creating relationships, designing unique houses, filling them with furniture, handling your ‘sims’ needs and hobbies, and doing everyday things like a person would do (work, clean, etc.).
The Sims Series General Highlights
- More than 80 Million Players on PC and Mobile
- The Sims Franchise Revenue: $5 billion
- The Sims Mobile Revenue: $25 million
- The Sims Mobile Downloads: 41.5 million copies
- The Sims Franchise Sold Copies on PC by February 2020: 200 million copies
- Sims Created by the Series 20th Anniversary: 1.6 billion Sims
- 6.9 million vampire characters
- 1 million mermaid characters
- 217,000 alien characters
- 173,000 toddlers
- 575 million households
- 37 million weddings
- 1.3 billion woohoos
The Sims’ Success
The Sims (2000)
- The Sims was the Best-Selling Computer Game of 2000: 1.77 million sold, $72.9 million revenue
- The Sims Remained US’s Number 1 Computer game in 2001: Additional 1.48 million copies and $60.4 million revenue.
- The Sims Units Sold Worldwide on PC by March 2015: 11.24 million copies
- The Sims Units Shipped Worldwide by February 2005: 16 million copies
The Sims started after the co-founder of Maxis, Will Wright’s, family home was burnt down in the 1990s. Wright started to ask himself why people enjoy buying things during his time searching for new furniture. He began to work on a concept where players have the ability to build houses and fill them up with items. Wright realised something was missing in this concept, which were playable characters. Thus, The Sims came to realization.
The Sims 2 (2004)
- The Sims 2 Copies Sold in the First 10 days of release: 1 million copies
- The Sims 2 Copies Sold within its First Year: 4.5 million copies
- The Sims 2 Copies Sold by October 2006: 7 million copies
- The Sims 2 Copies Sold by March 2012: 13 million copies across multiple platforms with at least 6 million copies on PC
The Sims 2 brought in a brand new feature everyone was waiting for; Sims with personalities. Sims were able to have Wants and Fears that can affect their own Lifetime Goals. But this wasn’t the biggest change in the series. The sims offspring are now affected by genetics. In the first installment, a child that was born wouldn’t resemble their parents, but in The Sims 2 females can be pregnant and give birth to a child that resembles the parents and can also receive their personalities too.
By March 2012, The Sims 2 sold over 13 million copies across various platforms.
The Sims 3 (2009)
- The Sims 3 Copies Sold by September 2011: 10 million copies
- The Sims 3 Copies Sold the Year it was Release (2009): 3.7 million copies
- The Sims 3 Copies Sold in its First Week: 1.4 million
- The Sims 3 Copies Sold Worldwide by 2016: 7 million copies
The Sims 3 brought a feature that was a huge addition to the franchise; Open-World Exploration. Players can bring their sims across a pre-made/custom world without the border of loading screens in between lots. All the player has to do is zoom out then they could go anywhere in the world. Once feature to make the world feel alive is the ‘story progression’ option. This option means that other sims around town will continue to progress (age, find relationships, etc) without the need of the player to provide input.
By 2016, The Sims 3 has sold over 7 million copies worldwide.
The Sims 4 (2014)
- The Sims 4 Expansions Downloaded over the Years until 2019: 30 million copies
- People Play The Sims 4: More than 20 million unique players
- Active The Sims 4 Players: More than 10 million players
The most notable feature added in The Sims 4 was the SmartSim; Sims’ feelings and emotions are affected by their surroundings. Although there were many changes in this game, the most notable ones were major cuts; the base game didn’t come with swimming pools (introduced in The Sims (2000)), removed the seamless open-world (introduced in The Sims 3 (2009)), the toddler age group was removed (introduced in The Sims 2 (2004)), and many more. However, update after update, features from the previous installments were starting to come back into The Sims 4, and others were left behind.
By January 2020, The Sims 4 has more than 20 million unique players.
The Sims Series Expansions
Maxis is known to release multiple expansions for each of The Sims games they released. Each expansion brings in new content and huge gameplay changes. Here is a list of how many and what expansions were released for The Sims, The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and The Sims 4.
There are a total of 36 Expansions throughout the ‘The Sims’ series.
- 7 Expansions for The Sims
- 8 Expansions for The Sims 2
- 11 Expansions for The Sims 3
- 10 Expansions for The Sims 4