Longevity in gaming

Apparently, the Sims 3 is breaking all kinds of records, and I don’t own it yet. Grr.

According to this CNET story, EA are reporting that the game sold 1.4 million copies in the first week, is topping the PC gaming chart, and the iPhone app chart, plus it has been EA’s best game launch ever.

Now, CNET suggest that whilst this is something of a surprise, it does fly in the face of criticism levelled at EA that they rely too much on long-term game franchises. So what if the Sims has been around for almost a decade? If the fans still want it, then EA would be foolish not to keep producing it.

I think perhaps the game works so well because it isn’t something that gets old in the same way a story-based game would. For example, the Tomb Raider series is exceptionally popular, but as it tells the story of Lara Croft, it upsets fans along the way. Some people dislike the vast changes from one game to the next, and it’s easy to take it the wrong way. Resident Evil is another example.

On the flip side, racing games, and sports games tend to reinvent themselves, and get away with it, because people will always love to race and I will always love to control those darned Sims. Improving gameplay, adding in new bits for diehard fans, but keeping the general principle the same, there’s no reason why the Sims can’t go on for another decade.

The one game that I feel breaks my theory, is Grand Theft Auto. Each game seems to have a story, but also has the sort of open gameplay that means fans can keep coming back for more.

I am by no means a gaming expert and would love to hear the opinions of anyone else out there. Is it wrong for EA to keep churning out the same old games? Why is it harder to reinvent a game which has a storyline?

3 thoughts on “Longevity in gaming

  1. Football Manager (nee Championship Manager) is another example of a game that is criticised for changing very little. Some feel that SI Games rip off punters by releasing yearly updates with few changes apart from the obvious transfer updates. Yet despite this it always tops the multi-format charts every time a new version goes on sale.

  2. I preordered Sims 3 on May 19 and it shipped on June 2 and still isn’t here. Stupid Australia Post, I can see from the tracking number it hasn’t left their depot in Sydney yet. I sent an angry email. I have not answered your questions, I’m just venting.

  3. I have not answered your questions, I’m just venting.

    You are more than welcome to vent, that is a ridiculous amount of time to wait. Pre-ordering is supposed to guarantee timeliness, or at least preference over those who have not done so.

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