Electronic Arts (EA), creator of the wildly popular Sims line of video games, announced Tuesday that it will expand the series with a new line of “laptop friendly” games.
The first installment, “The Sims Life Stories,” (TSLS) will offer younger PC gamers the opportunity to enter a Sims world featuring appealing characters and easy-to-play story lines designed to appeal to newbies and pros alike, the company said.
EA has sold some 70 million copies of Sims games in 22 languages around the world, enabling players to exist in a virtual world where they control every aspect of their Sims characters’ lives — from when they sleep to when they cook and eat, from what they wear to when they go to work or go out to the mall.
TSLS, slated for release in the U.S. and Europe on Feb. 6, introduces players to a new facet of the game called “Story Mode.” Heretofore, Sims players have led a relatively aimless existence without any preset goals. With TSLS, players will have the option of following a romantic comedy featuring two characters, Riley Harlow and Vincent Moore.
A cast of characters help guide players through a 12 chapter story line to see if the two find true love. Players who enjoy the less structured and open style of play for which Sims games are known can ignore the option.
Get ‘Em Young
EA is trying to attract teens with the new line, Yankee Group analyst Mike Goodman told TechNewsWorld. The bulk of Sims players tend to be adult women.
“This is a part of EA’s strategy to expand the market for The Sims,” Goodman said.
Changes introduced in the new games, such as the story line, are designed to appeal to a different segment of the PC game market: teenage girls. The move reflects an interest in the video game industry to expand the potential of certain popular game titles, Goodman said.
“Women tend to play casual games and mobile games,” he explained, “but the one place they do play on the PC is ‘The Sims.’ So, here’s an opportunity if you’re EA to expand your market to a different segment of the population.”
In recent years, PC gaming has taken a back seat to console games. However, a Nielsen Entertainment report released in October found that some two-thirds of online PC gamers, or “casual gamers,” are women.
The study also found that “active gamer” teens and young adults make up a significant portion of PC gamers “with more than half playing casual games an hour or more a week.”
Further additions to the Sims line: “The Sims Castaway Stories” will hit store shelves in mid-2007; “The Sims Pet Stories” is expected in late 2008. Rated “E,” for Everyone, the games will sell for US$39.99.