Note: The following blog, while written by an administrator, does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the other administrators, or of The Sims Wiki community at-large. I mean, it probably does, but we can't be too sure, can we?
"EA is evil". "EA is destroying so many game series, including The Sims". I've heard it said by many a The Sims Wiki user, and up until now I've dismissed it. I've always thought that The Sims is such a dynamic series, it would take an awful lot of bad decisions to screw it up. So as EA deliberately withheld popular features from The Sims in order to rake in profits from expansion packs (seriously, the data says that pets are popular - what other reason besides profit did EA have for not including them in the base game?), I kept my head in the sand... it would take an awful lot to destroy a decade-old franchise, I told myself. Then, The Sims took another step into online gaming. Clearly EA is trying to follow in the footsteps of Facebook-oriented casual gaming, and they're using an established franchise to do it; this is no problem, I thought, at least until I saw that The Sims Social might be going the way of The Sims Online. Then we got Showtime, and with it the introduction of new 'social features' (I touch on my reaction to all this in another blog post), which serves to further distance the series from its single-player gaming roots. All this was fine, I thought.
And then, Katy Perry happened.
To preface this, I will not even attempt to hide my disgust at this product. I am certainly not a fan of stuff packs as it is, but this looks hideous and, aside from the aesthetics of the content of the pack itself, is a very thinly veiled attempt by EA to milk their Sims cash cow a bit more by throwing a celebrity into it. It's so clear that that's EA's intent, especially since they bumped the price up, making Sweet Treats more expensive than other stuff packs. This increase in price can only be because EA assumes that customers will pay more for a product that has a celebrity in it... or that certain demographics will be willing to pay more for it.
I have absolutely no interest in this pack whatsoever. I will not buy it. I have no interest in decorating my neighborhood like a freakish candy shop. I have no interest in having my Sims rock out to Katy Perry singing in Simlish. All this hardly seems worth even the price of a normal Stuff Pack, let alone the higher price for this pack.
I think I am not alone in my disinterest for this product. While this pack is obviously aimed predominantly at teen girls, I fear that if response from that demographic is strong, that it may be a precursor to other limited-scope packs. That would mean that a series which is well-known for being playable by just about anyone would be more and more specifically tailored to a set demographic, while largely ignoring the rest of its potential audience, such as people who don't like Katy Perry. For a game that appeals to such a wide audience, focusing on a specific demographic is dangerous.
But that seems to be the tone of this series in general, and the blame must fall solely on EA. I am specifically placing blame on those in EA who would focus on creating a product purely for profit, rather than focusing on creating a good product which, by way of its quality, provides a profit. Games like TS3: Pets and Sweet Treats (and the new SP, Diesel Stuff) seem like apparent attempts to get players to plop down their cash for features that either should have been included in the base game right from the start, or to throw money down for hollow 'features' that are included only because they illicit a reaction from a target audience, be it the "OMG, IT'S KATY PERRY" factor, or the "OMG, IT'S PUPPIES AND KITTENS" factor, or the "OMG, IT'S HOT NEW FASHIONS" factor.
I want to make it clear that I understand the need to make a profit off your product. There truly is no reason for a company like EA to produce a game if it's not going to be profitable for them. My issue is when EA chooses to go the 'easy route' by using flash and style over actual substance, throwing any 'cool' or 'trendy' thing at the game that will stick, while ignoring the quality of the game itself, all in the interests of making a quick buck.
This strategy is almost sure to backfire. Because while some people may be swayed by celebrity endorsements and flash, most game players buy games in order to play and enjoy them. And if the recent EPs and SPs are any evidence, there's not much more to expect out of the series in terms of actual enjoyment, only more useless and overpriced fluff.
As a closing remark, I encourage you to leave a comment below with your opinions. Don't be afraid to disagree with me; I'd like to try and see this situation from the other side of the coin.