This is the second and final part to Sharkyshood’s article; Cooperation Makes it Happen: How the SIMS can fix their Representation Issue.
For the Sims team to create a gaming experience that is inclusive of various identities, they should focus on building a system that allows them to work directly with the Sims mod community. When the Sims 3 was released I assumed we were headed in that direction. If you remember, Sims 3 had the awesomeness that was the Sims 3 store. Even tough Sims 3 was a mess for me, one thing was a point toward redemption was The Sims 3 store.
The Sims 3 Store allowed you to download New Worlds and objects created by the Sims developers by using Simpoints. In addition to downloading items created by Sim developers you could also download item recolors that were designed by creators in the community. The recolors didn’t require Simpoints. Simpoints could be purchased with real money via microtransactions or you could earn them by participating in daily online tasks such as watching a commercial or taking a survey.
I enjoyed the Sims 3 store because I saw its prospective future as a central location to find custom content. I assumed the recolors was just a small test run and then the store would expand to original meshes and mods.
The Store was a great starting point for Sims team and mod community cooperation. The mod community spends a lot of time making The Sims game infinitely better. Therefore, those modders should be compensated for their work. I know people will say “oh but it’s a hobby” and “for the love…” yea, yea fuck all that noise. I don’t care. EA benefits greatly off the mod community because they can put minimal effort in the game and they know the mod community will pick up the slack for free.
Pulling off a true community partnership like this would not be easy. The main hurdles would be revenue distribution and also content theft. It is no secret there are thieves in the mod community. Some people have no problem downloading content then re-uploading it and claiming as their own. Therefore, EA would have to create a system that can easily identify content theft and punishes offenders. Another concern would be what will happen to sites like “Mod the Sims” and “The Sims Resource” etc; and yes, some sites will take a huge hit and some a slight pinch but there will be a need for such sites and personal cc sites because there is no way EA will or can allow any and every type of cc, or mod, on their site.
For instance, they wouldn’t allow objects that use trademarked images and they definitely wouldn’t have a Wicked Woohoo mod on the official EA branded site. Not to mention, there is no way for EA to create a perfect platform so I’m sure people will prefer to release, and download, their content through other avenues.
Inviting the mod community to help create content on behalf of EA could hopefully free up The Sims team to focus on creating better features that actually improve the base gameplay. We shouldn’t have to always miss out on game features from previous games each time a new Sims series is released and wait to pay again for features you had in the previous three games. This life simulation game has barely scratched the surface of what encompasses living, in all it’s 17 years of glory. Let’s keep it all the way funky, there is something off about Sims 4. I wish I could put my finger on it but Sims 4 didn’t captivate me the same way the other games did and still doesn’t but that’s an entirely different article and issue.
If done correctly, the benefits of this imagined platform are endless. The Sims team should develop an algorithm that tracks popular cc, or theme related cc. With that information they can then reach out to those creators and collaborate on new expansion packs, stuff packs or game packs that will be sold to the masses. There is the opportunity for revenue to be generated for both cc creators and EA through the Simpoint system.
Simmers could have the option to pay for content individually and/or setup a subscription service, with the subscription service, simmers can pay on a scheduled timeframe and have X amount of Simpoints to spend each time period. Allow the creators to set a price point for their content and a split can be negotiated between creators and EA. A split? Yes, a split because running such a platform isn’t free nor cheap. The key to keeping a possible good thing going is figuring out how everyone involved can get paid. So far I’ve talked about the benefits for CC creators and EA. However, I do feel us Simmers who just like to download CC can benefit too.
First, you can pay for what you want and ditch whatever you don’t. We all know there is nothing like buying a stuff pack, or game pack and only liking two objects in the whole pack. In addition, this whole release a EP, GP or SP every month or every other month is a little too much.
Second, it’s really convenient to download all, or at least most of your content from one central location. A mod detector feature can be setup to easily detect and remove content that messes up your game. Also, an update alert feature can be set up for cc creators and those who download content. This feature can allow creators to reach out to those who downloaded their cc when updates have been made or notify them if their content conflicts with a most recent update. If any changes are made they can send out a free replacement file to those who already paid for the content.
The Third reason is more of a personal reason but simply knowing that people are being compensated for the hard work they put into making YOUR game better. You would not expect EA to give away copies of The Sims so why should we expect cc creators to giveaway their hard earned work for free. There is clearly a demand for this stuff and living isn’t free so cough up them coins or don’t download anything. I know quite a few people are looking, feeling slightly hurt like…
I get it, currently you have gigabyte upon gigabyte of free downloaded content on your computer right now so the thought of paying for it is blasphemy. Also, I’m very aware that not everyone can afford to download tons of CC (I am actually one of those people).
If we go back to the Sims 3 store idea where there was an option for Simmers to gain free Simpoints by completing online tasks; the Sims team can incorporate a similar if not the same system into the platform. Sometimes I am willing to give up some demographic info so I can I download a piece of cc I really like. So if you don’t want to, or simply can’t, pay for the cc you still have the opportunity to get cc and the creators and EA can still earn some type of revenue off their work.
Future of The Sims
To be completely honest, I don’t see anything changing. Collectively, our capitalistic ideology is just too strong and the means to fight against content theft is too expensive. A lot of simmers have simply grown entitled to receiving free cc. Also, this would require a lot of work, and money to create. Great risks can mean a great reward or it can mean everybody is out of a job so, I don’t blame people too much for sticking to the rivers and the lakes they are used to. Even though, I see the potential for this amazing idea to help The Sims team cover their blind spots, we are pretty much stuck with what we got for who knows how long.
As of right now, we have to depend on a small group of people to determine how life will be represented in a life simulation game. Again,I have noticed the changes they have made but it is frustrating to know the automatic default for the game is European white, cis-gender, able-bodied, suburban Sim and anything else is an add on that may be included in a expansion, game or stuff pack. At the end of the day, The Sims is a life simulation game and it would greatly be appreciated if the game actually represented a variety of life experiences.
Our Guest Writer is none other than Thumbstick Mafia’s Co-founder Sharkyshood. You can find her on her website, twitter or whenever she blesses us on stream or YT.
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