Hey guys, so a disclaimer: this is not a thread to bash any of the EA Gamechangers or the game in general, I just want to open a discussion about the new reality TV show called The Sims Spark'd that is coming out.
As you might have guessed from the title of this thread I am not 100% behind this project. It is not that I don't like reality TV or that this kind of show is not my cup of tea. The thing I am most dissatisfied with is the decision to create such a project and the way it is being executed.
There are 4 main problems that I personally have with this new reality TV show.
First, I want to start with EA's business priorities in the moment. I think several members of the community, no matter if they enjoy or not enjoy The Sims 4, have expressed a wish for more content in The Sims 4. There have been a lot of requests for more features (ex. cars, farming etc.) but there is also a big amount of people asking for a revamp of certain very important features in a Sims game (ex. babies). However The Sims Team/EA seems to be prioritizing things nobody really ever asked for like this reality show over people's feedback.
And the people asking for those features are not just random "people". They are customers. We are all EA's customers and we are actively contributing to EA's financial well-being. However, EA doesn't seem to be willing to return the favor.
Personally I am all for trying new things but to me this is going way to far and it seems they are taking the focus away from the game and instead are trying to turn it into some kind of a brand.
Does the existence of this TV show mean the things we've been asking for are not coming? Of course not. Maybe they will eventually come, however some of the requests I mentioned have been there since Day 1 of the game's release and its been 6 years. EA creating a reality show while we've been waiting 6 whole years for certain features to be added to the game that actually should have been there in the first place feels a little like them showing us the middle-finger.
Secondly, I want to talk about something I have noticed regarding EA's investment of their own resources. My definition of resources in this context is the time and money a company possesses.
Last year EA proudly announced that The Sims 4 has created over 1 billion dollars in lifetime revenue (that means the base game and its DLC on all platforms except mobile). This is an enormous amount of money and some speculate that they have already passed the 1.5 billion dollar mark. So we can all agree that factually EA is making a lot of money from this game. So the question is where is this all this money going to? Nobody really knows exactly but judging by EA's moves lately it doesn't seem to be flowing into the gameplay but it seems to be going to things like ads and marketing projects like this reality TV show. To be fair EA did expand the Sims team after releasing articles of the game's revenue since it would have been fatal not to hire more people after telling the whole world how rich they've become, however that 1 billion dollars didn't just show up in their front door, they have been making this crazy amount for years now, yet The Sims team has had to step-up and share with the public that they don't have enough budget, time and staff for more of their ideas and our requests to make it into the packs.
So my question is where does all the money go to? Why doesn't the Sims team have more budget but we are now getting a reality TV show?
If EA has money for Instagram cooperations with celebrities like Vanessa Hudgens and that girl from Sabrina the teenage witch why don't they provide the Sims Team with more money for the development of the actual product?
Furthermore, I want to move away from finances and talk a little bit about the reality show itself, especially its contestants. Now, I am no expert in Youtubers and Twitch streamers but even I recognized at least 4-5 of these people on the show. It seems that EA has decided to make a competition show with people who are already rich and famous and awarding them with even more publicity and even more money. I feel like the 100k dollars for someone like Plumbella is like her yearly salary or something. I have to admit it is a smart move to have famous people competing since that way they can be used to make people watch the show. Also the Youtubers and Twitch streamers will probably be pushing the show on their channels as well.
But I am deeply dissapointed EA isn't giving all those awesome creators that nobody really knows a chance to show their creations and tell their stories. Almost every other competition show has random unknown people auditioning like "The Circle", "The Voice" etc. but The Sims Spark'd is only for the VIPs.
To me it is basically just a business move for EA to advertise their game and their packs and for the Youtubers and Twitchers to even gain more publicity and money. It's a pity 'cause this would have been a great opportunity to have everyday simmers from all around the world showcase their incredible and unique creations. The should have selected people based on "talent" and not based on their status.
Lastly I am very dissapointed with the competitive nature of the show and it worries me that this might the direction the Sims is heading. I think the competitive spirit contradicts the core of the Sims series which was always to create your own unique stories and play the way you decide to play. Everybody has a different playstyle and a desire to create stories unique to their liking. The game has no goal, you set the goal and you decide what happens. There is no better or worse in the Sims, there is only different!
This is where the issue lies. How are they going to judge the contestants on a game with no goal where everybody is free to do what suits them? And even if they do find criteria to judge the contestants the question remains as to "Why?" Why would you compare a Simmer's individual experience of the game with another Simmer? And why would you decide to punish a Simmer's way to play the game with an elimination process while rewarding the one you personally think is better? There is no better or worse, the Sims has no goal, has no rules, it is not about competing, it is about sharing!
And this is exactly where they went wrong. They should have simply provided random players from all-around the world with a platform to share their experiences and their way of playing the Sims, rather than turning it into this weird mix between competitive E-Sports and reality TV.
To sum it all up, I personally do not like the idea of this show and I am hoping that this isn't a sign of similar things to come. I personally do not want the Sims to turn into a competition. I play and support the game to do the things I want and to share them with other people and see what other people want to share with me. By giving me this amount of freedom the sims series has helped me go through some very difficult moments in my life and overcome the pressures and anxiety of a judging and competitive society.
However I want to add that as long as this show doesn't have an influence on the present or the future of the sims then I can simply ignore it but because a project like this one financially drains the actual game itself I felt I had the need to speak up, as a customer but most importantly as a long-time fan.