EA Wants You to Pay Just to do Laundry

In 2010, a year after the Sims 3 was first released, the Ambitions expansion pack was released for the Sims 3. Some of the things added in this expansion pack include: three skills (sculpting, inventing, and tattooing,) 5 professions (Architectural Designer, Firefighter, Ghost Hunter, Investigator, and Stylist,) a new career track in education, a number of different customization options and furniture, and laundry. This originally retailed for the astronomical price of $40. But you got, arguably, enough content to justify it if you were a really big fan of The Sims.

 The Sims 3 Expansion Packs packed a lot of stuff into a single bundle. Overpriced,  yes but better than the Sims 4.

The Sims 3 Expansion Packs packed a lot of stuff into a single bundle. Overpriced,  yes but better than the Sims 4.

Two days ago laundry got added to the Sims 4. It comes in a $10 content pack and adds the ability to do laundry, some rustic furniture and clothing and that's it. A 4th of the price for an expansion pack that added quite a bit to The Sims 3, just to wash some clothes virtually. I think it's worth mentioning that that's bullshit. Of the highest caliber, in fact. But it speaks to a progression in the mess that is The Sims and the monetisation scheme EA is trying to get away with.

To get, roughly the same big improvements to the game in the Sims 4, in addition to the Laundry pack there's also the $20 dollar vampire pack, which gives you a small vampire-themed village,  the City Living expansion pack for $40, and the $10 hot tub pack. While these two packs have some additions which weren't in Night Life, there's nothing so significant that they warrant being sold individually for a full $40 extra. Oh, except, they know the fanbase they're catering too and they know how to exploit them. 

 10 dollars just for hot tubs. But hot tubs are important to players. Doesn't mean you should charge them 10 dollars.

10 dollars just for hot tubs. But hot tubs are important to players. Doesn't mean you should charge them 10 dollars.

The Sims community is one of the most hardcore casual group of gamers out there. They play a ton of The Sims, and nothing else. They have endless demands for The Sims because they want to be able to live a life as similar to reality as possible. They complain for three years until pets were added to the game, then they complain about not having seasons. They ask for laundry and now they want horses and they will pay for every feature they want individually if they have to.

Since Maxis was scooped up by EA (and later viciously murdered) EA has been testing the limits of what The Sims fans will take. The resounding and truthful answer to that, is just about anything as long as you give them those sweet sweet content packs. But for the rest of the people who simply like The Sims, and for the sake of the Sim's fans not going broke, critics need to pay attention to this trend because it extends beyond the Night Life expansion pack. Hell, cynical strategies like this have a way of worming their spindly fingers into other titles and no one wants that.

 What a pretty $10 virtual room

What a pretty $10 virtual room

Lastly, and maybe most importantly, this is actually something were the community and critics actually have some sway. Stomp your feet all you want, loot boxes make too much money for publishers to give much of a damn about critic input and fan anger because at the end of the day, they only need their whales but The Sims is different. When the Sims 4 released in 2014, there was a huge uproar about the exclusion of toddlers and pools from the main game because those were things that should have been in it

Given what we've seen with the way they're picking apart content that they could have bundled to sell for premium prices, my bet was and still is, that it was EA's intention to sell pools and toddlers to fans of the series later on. But fans and critics objected powerfully to the idea that pools, specifically, would not be in the game because they'd been part of the damned base game since the year 2000. Even with the highly fanatical fans defending EA as though they were their dear old grandmama and not a frightening, callous corporate entity, pools were added to the game for free later that year. Toddlers were later added in 2017 for free. EA doesn't do things out of the kindness of their lizard hearts. This is a story of external pressure getting them to relent.