The Sims 5 May Go Free-to-Play, but Will Likely be Littered With Expensive Microtransactions

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The Sims 5 seems likely to adopt a free-to-play model, or, as a recent job listing calls it, a “free-to-enter” model. This likely will shock nobody, though, given The Sims 4 also adopted a similar model several years after launch. Fans of the franchise are no strangers to being overloaded with fees and DLC costs, with expansions being released ad nauseam alongside Stuff Packs, Game Packs, and more. Back in 2018, there was much uproar over the decision to release a stuff pack that could only be used by players who owned the Cats and Dogs expansion, effectively making it DLC for DLC.

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The job posting, spotted by Twitter user The Henford Hen, is for the “Head of Marketplace & Monetization” for Project Rene, confirmed in the document to be the next title in The Sims franchise. One of the key responsibilities of the role is to maintain and help decide upon the structure for The Sims 5‘s in-game marketplace which will contain “free and paid” content for players. One such responsibility says the person must “Own pricing of all content in this free-to-enter game, ensuring [EA has] an optimal pricing and content architecture,” and that they will “provide guidance to content teams on in-game content needs to meet player demand.”

The job listing includes a litany of responsibilities related to monetizing The Sims 5.
The job listing includes a litany of responsibilities related to monetizing The Sims 5.

There are several other responsibilities this person will need to achieve for The Sims 5, largely focused on “[driving] the revenue forecast” for the game, “setting a high bar of excellence to meet aggressive and achievable KPI targets” for the game’s growing product management team, as well as building roadmaps for new “Features, content, events, marketing campaigns” and more.

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Also read: “AI Generated Artwork Just Feels Lazy”: Steam Will Ban 2023 Games That Make Use of AI Art

Should The Sims 5 Be Free-to-Play?

EA showed of early concepts for The Sims 5, currently known as Project Rene, in October 2022.
EA showed of early concepts for The Sims 5, currently known as Project Rene, in October 2022.

Arguably, a free-to-play model for The Sims 5 is not too dissimilar from that which the series has always used. In fact, in February of this year, the base game for the fourth entry in the series also became free. Expansions and other available DLC continue to be released, with the most recent expansion Growing Together released in March, and another expansion, Horse Ranch, set to release next month.

There are already over 66 released DLC packs of varying sizes for The Sims 4, with 13 of those already released being expansions, not including Horse Ranch. Once that releases, barring sales that do occasionally occur (though, generally, they are not steep discounts) it would cost a player $955 to purchase all DLC for The Sims 4 at the current time, not counting the base game which only became free four months ago.

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Because of the already hefty costs associated with the last game, many fans are now worried that The Sims 5 going “free-to-enter” will result in an obscene number of microtransactions. These are understandable and fair concerns all things considered.

Given the series' history, it seems likely The Sims 5 will not have features such as horses available at launch. The Sims 4 took nine years to see this expansion release.
Given the series’ history, it seems likely The Sims 5 will not have features such as horses available at launch. The Sims 4 took nine years to see this expansion release.

It seems entirely possible, too, that the game will simply follow the same model as previous entries in the series. Ever since the first Sims game, EA and Maxis have released a steady stream of post-launch content available for purchase for each title in the series, with certain expansions, rather than being incorporated in the base game of the next title, instead recurring throughout the franchise. All four main titles have included a Pets expansion, for instance, rather than sporting them from Day 1.

Not much is yet known about The Sims 5 officially. Even that title remains unconfirmed, with it only officially being known as “Project Rene” or simply “the newest entry to The Sims franchise.” We do know that the game will allow users to sync gameplay across multiple devices in real-time, taking the game from PC to mobile without missing a beat. We have also seen much deeper furniture systems that allow players to freely customize patterns and colors, intricate pillow and accessory placement, and even saving room setups for later reuse and upload.

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Also read: The Pros and Cons of a Digital-Only Video Game Industry

No release date has been announced, yet, but given we have already seen official gameplay, it is likely that we will not have to wait too much longer to know more about The Sims 5. Players will no doubt be anxious to know how much content they will have access to with the base game, and how much will be withheld for purchase in DLCs now that the base will seemingly be free from the start.

How do you feel about this change to the series’ formula? Do you think a move to “free-to-enter” status will make the high prices of expansions seen in previous entries more palatable, or are you tired of games being sliced up and sold in pieces? Let us know in the comments and on our social media feeds!

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Written by Tanner Linares

Articles Published: 91

Tanner Linares is an enthusiastic gamer with a propensity for babbling his opinions at people who may or may not care. He graduated with a degree in English Writing from Northern Michigan University in 2021. He is also writing several graphic novels with a wonderful illustrator.