If you’ve been looking for a new video game to pass the time, Electronic Arts (EA) has the answer for you. Starting October 18, EA will make the base game “The Sims 4” available to download for free for new players.
The game was originally released for PC in 2014 but has since been released on a multitude of gaming platforms. The free base game will be available to download on PC, Mac, Steam, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, and Xbox One.
“We are excited to continue to welcome more players than ever to create new stories and explore without limits,” EA said in a statement. “‘The Sims’ has always been about celebrating new ways to play and offers so many possibilities to discover.”
If you’re new to “The Sims” or haven’t played since the original game was released in 2000, here’s what you need to know before you download it.
What do I get in the free version of The Sims 4?
Since its release in 2014, “The Sims 4” has kept up with a healthy library of DLC (downloadable content) packs, and those usually not free. In fact, purchasing each add-on paid for at full price would set you back over $1,000.
But the base game includes a lot of content, so you can have a great time playing it without paying for add-ons. In fact, EA recently released a batch of updates to the base game that are free to use, including a new tutorial system for beginners, clothing and hairstyle options, and more.
The base game has everything you need to get started with The Sims. You can create your Sim and start building your dream home in one of three neighborhoods available to you (Willow Creek, Oasis Springs, or Newcrest).
But it probably won’t be long before you start wondering what’s available beyond the base version of “The Sims 4″…
What DLC packs are available for The Sims 4?
In the EA store, you can purchase four different types of downloadable extras.
- expansion packs they are bigger updates that “expand your game and take your Sims on new adventures.” (We recommend “Seasons” or “Get Together”.)
- game packs they are slightly smaller updates “that add new experiences to play in new thematic ways”. (Try “Parenting” or “Dream Home Decorator”).
- stuff packs “Add more to your Sims’ lives with fun items and fashion.” (We like “Tiny Living” and “Laundry Day.”)
- kits they serve as “mini-collections of content created to boost your playstyle with more options.” (Avoid “Bust the Dust”.)
You can also buy Sims 4 DLC in bundles to save some money, such as “Decorator’s Dream,” “Everyday Essentials,” and “Pet Lovers” bundles.
Whether you’re interested in home decor, college life, or werewolves, there’s probably a Sims 4 add-on that appeals to you.
How did The Sims start?
The first game in The Sims franchise was released in 2000, and within two years, it became the best-selling PC game of all time. The original game received seven expansion packs throughout its lifespan.
“The original idea that (founder and lead designer) Will Wright had was that it was a virtual dollhouse,” designer and voice-over director Claire Curtin said in a fantastic oral history of the original Sims of Vice game.
Gamers from all over the world were drawn to the idea of building a virtual life with very few strings attached. It was a different kind of game where the player controlled where they wanted the story to go. And in the beginning, there was some tension between the developers of the game and the people at EA.
“EA put in a lot of money and marketing, so it was good. In terms of the game itself, it was a struggle because they didn’t have the same core values,” designer Roxy Wolosenko said. “They wanted to gamify it more. They wanted to figure out how to make it ‘sexy’ somehow.”
Despite the sometimes strained relationship between EA and developers, The Sims has remained a powerhouse in the gaming industry. In 2020, “The Sims 4” became the best-selling base game in franchise history. And its audience is incredibly diverse: A recent job listing for “The Sims 4” development team says that the majority of the game’s audience is “women between the ages of 18 and 24.”