Sims fans have caught sight of something alarming in a recent 20-minute Sims 4 gameplay demo posted to the series' official YouTube channel. A banner advertising "The Sims 4 Premium" popped on screen while the hosts were en-route to check out community content sharing features, promising discounts, early access, and exclusive items. The comparison is being made to the premium memberships offered for the Battlefield series, in essence a subscription fee that provides a good deal for players who plan to buy all or nearly all of the DLC content released -- and a good deal for EA if subscribers who planned to buy decide to abstain.
But when it comes to this particular community and this particular franchise, I don't think the issue is quite that simple...
On paper it's really not a bad idea. If you know you want to buy the inevitable store content that will be released, signing on for Premium will likely net you a discount and a few additional goodies. The real problem is that thanks to its expansions, stuff packs, and store content, The Sims has become the ultimate punchline in jokes about game publisher greed. I'd argue that, at this point, it's eclipsed Oblivion's horse armor.
The issue of EA's greed in relation to The Sims came up recently when it was revealed that both toddlers and swimming pools would be absent from The Sims 4 base game (but would presumably be returned through future expansions.) Suffice it to say that the massive Simming audience is hyper-aware of EA's willingness to nickel-and-dime them.
It boils down to this: While Premium will be a good deal for some players, I can't help but feel that EA may end up paying for it in their own community's good will.Tweet
Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times, and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.