The future of The Sims? See ya.

KarinL posted a link on this thread to an interview with someone called Rich Hilleman who seems just as out of touch with core, long term Simmers as the rest of EA. The Gamasutra interview can be found here and is titled “Getting EA ready for the future”. Hilleman has broken down us Simmers into 3 categories – those who create houses, those who have a virtual relationship with their Sim, and those who use the game to make movies with. How incredibly shortsighted of him. What about the story tellers and the Sim makers? The competition makers and the CC makers? No to mention the Legacy players or those who write mods so the game is actually playable for most people, or the World makers who can actually make a world that works properly, etc. etc.

His vision for the future is about services, not products:

“And so one of the things that I think is an interesting way to think about this is something I call service-oriented design. You’re going to get paid in the future not for your client but for the services, and so don’t spend all your time engineering a client to some undefined set of future experiences you think you might make out of it. The best way to build a new product might be to build the services first.”

Scared yet? How can EA build a service when they can’t even write games properly, maintain a website securely? More importantly, how can they build a service when they are so out of touch with what their players really want? Most Simmers are screaming out for a Seasons EP/a building SP/a University type EP, heck, just a game that WORKS, yet EA get some C lister singer (who’s more famous in the UK for her short lived marriage to Russell Brand than her singing career) called Katy Perry signed up in order to endorse an Expansion Pack which should have been part of a previous one, and a Stuff Pack full of crap which will make your town look like a diabetic’s nightmare. They then churn out another Stuff Pack endorsed by Diesel, the over priced high street store, which sells t-shirts for £50 (my sister buys them, she’s mad).

So using the Sims franchise as a ‘hypothetical’ example, Hilleman goes on to explain where he can see the future, based on his 3 categories of Simmers:

“If you think about each of those current audiences today and what future Sims product we’d want to give them, what the dollhouser wants is not an application on their computer, but they want an application on their phone that I can go take a picture of that chair, and “get that chair in my game for $20,” or for some number. And then what I want is I want the ability to express my houses to my friends; I want to be able to build a parade of homes for my particular house, so that I can win the Bathroom of the Year award for my particular category.”

This is the category I fall into, the ‘dollhouser’ (although I don’t want to live in all the houses I build and upload) and I can guarantee you that I am absolutely not interested in an App on my phone which would enable me to take a picture of an object and then pay EA for the privilege of adding it to my latest build. I bought the Sims games and add ons because it provided me with a tool to create houses, a hobby I used to love, with a bit of gameplay thrown in for good measure. And I think you’ll find that there is a massive community of builders out there who already express their houses to the community. There’s even a forum dedicated to it on the EA website, it’s called Creative Corner.

“That second group — the virtual character owners, the people who want a relationship — they want to be able to have a deeper emotional interaction with their characters. What I would give them is the ability to have video chat with their Sims. Now, the Sims speak Simlish — and I wouldn’t change that, by the way — but that doesn’t mean that we can’t have something that produces an emotionally evocative experience.”

If I ever came across someone who wanted to video chat with their Sim and had some emotional relationship with it I think I’d quickly make my excuses and leave. Maybe Hilleman is drawing on personal experience?

The other thing I want to do is make the Sims a part of your social life, make them a part of your friends circle, and how you do that is you make where your Sims go with you be as interesting as where you go. And so for instance, imagine an application that when I went to Mount Rushmore with my Sims in my phone in my pocket, that it sent a note to all of my Facebook friends with a postcard of the Sims standing in front of Mount Rushmore and the note on the back of what we did there. It’s a goofy idea, but for somebody who cares about that character as deeply as one of their other friends, it’s a natural kind of thing.”

How about sharing real life experiences with real life people? The whole point of The Sims was a virtual world, VIRTUAL, not real. A lot of people don’t even admit to playing The Sims, it’s a guilty pleasure.

For that last group, you know, the most frustrating thing about using The Sims to make a movie is that unfortunately the Sims do what they want to do. So like in the middle of a perfectly executed scene, they decide to go to the bathroom; it’s like, “Uh-oh. Wait a minute.” So what movie makers want most of all is the ability to direct the Sims. But if I give them the joystick control to drive the Sims around, they’re going to break things, and we’re going to have less fun.”

What? Have you actually watched any machinima?

So as an example in this case, what I’ll do is instead I’ll give them the director. Instead of being able to direct the character themselves, I’ll give them Martin Scorsese, who can. Now the trick becomes not getting the Sims characters to do what you want, but getting Martin to do what you want. I’m still abstracted in the same way The Sims has used before, but what I’ve done is I’ve turned it into a different kind of a problem that fits to the gestalt of what that customer does.”

………whatever.

The underlying point there is that by building the service first, you align yourself with how your customers value your product. And chances are you built a client that builds the best possible incarnation of that service, that’s going to be the way to build the most compelling project. The Sims is just one example; I would say the social and free-to-play and mobile spaces are probably even more important in those places.”

Not many of us value your products anymore. EA’s stock is the lowest it’s been in over 12 years yet all you’re interested in is Facebook/Twitter/YouTube giveaways and promotion. Your core gamers are jumping ship because the quality of your products is so poor, not to mention ridiculously overpriced. We’re not interested in advertising your games for you for free on our Facebook etc. pages, we want to play an entertaining game for a few hours. That’s why so many of us have stopped buying the EPs and SPs.

You won’t listen to us so we’ll stop giving you our money.

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24 thoughts on “The future of The Sims? See ya.

  1. Faith12368

    Hi Bluebelle, I actually posted this interview back at the end of March to show the future they are planning. I believe it was in a Showtime thread about Simport or one about EA tactics. I can’t remember. We actually couldn’t believe how out of touch this guy was and how much of a hippy he sounded like. It is just sad to see that is the way they look at us. You know of course, 70% of the thread didn’t get the real meaning.

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    1. BluebellFlora Post author

      Oh, sorry Faith! I don’t look at the Showtime threads so that must have been why I missed it 😳 I did wonder why it had taken a couple of months to surface on the forum 🙂

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      1. Faith12368

        Because people had stars in their eyes still from ST fever and loved EA at the time. Hell with the new crowd, which seem to be a bunch of 13 year olds, as we feared would happen, have pretty much taken over and are proving this gentleman’s point to a “T”. Apparently a group of them (13 year olds)decided to become the new and improved “Forum Police”, I missed it but heard the gory details.

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  2. Faith12368

    Anyways I went off on a tangent, sorry, my point is the thread either got buried or deleted because as usual it turned into a nightmare.

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  3. Sugarmew

    I read that and, I kid you not, I broke out in a cold sweat. This is what The Sims is becoming? Really? I am a huge storyteller and I very nearly destroyed my entire computer by being one – and then someone just spins off this load of shit?

    I’m scared. If this actually happens, it’s going to stop my Simming.

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  4. Zeri

    lolwut? chat with my sim? are you serious? my sims are not my friends. they are my pets. my minions. my PLAYTHINGS. if you think of your sims as your friends, you need meds my friend. this is the most out of touch person in the HISTORY of sims. he doesnt understand the game AT ALL. FAIL EA.. just fail

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  5. brunettesimgirl77

    OMG…yup, Sims 3 will definitely be the last sim game(s) I buy if this is truely the direction they will be going in for Sims 4 (or any Sims games after this). I, like you, am a “dollhouser”. I have admited to lots of people that I spend more time building than I do actually playing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t play a sim/family. I do have a legacy family (my simself legacy) that I am actually quite focused on right now. I enjoy creating sims (usually real life celebrities into sims–that’s a nice little challenge for me to get the sim to look as closely to the real person as I can). I have made machinima’s. I have done the story telling. I’ve done everything except CAW and being a CC creator…I don’t fall under one particular category that this person has so ignorantly split the members of the game/community up into.

    I personally don’t like any of the ideas/suggestions this person has made. If I see something I want created, I will go and look to see if a CC creator has made it (or something similar) first, if not, then I will post the picture over at MTS and ask if someone would be so kind as to create it for me/us.

    Taking sims with us? Being part of our friend circle? Okay mister…what are you smoking and can I have some!? How many people have you heard say, “I really wish I could share this moment with my sim?”, or while talking to RL friends say, “OMG, Susie, my sim, did the funniest thing today….she’s my best friend. You guys have to meet her!”. You really do live in a fantasy world, huh? Bluebell–I thought the exact same thing as I was reading that part of his interview, ” A lot of people don’t even admit to playing The Sims, it’s a guilty pleasure.”.

    As for the last part….isn’t that what cheats are for? Has this person never heard of the cheats “make needs static?” or the option “free will turned off”? How about the animation cheat, or even the animation player? O_o I have never had a problem getting my sims to do what I directed them to do because I know the tricks and tips to make them do what I want to do! Pieceing my scenes together so they flow fairly well, was more of a challenge (using WMM) than actually directing my sims to do what I wanted them to do.

    EA if this is the way you are really going with the franchise, then I bid you a nasty adieu, and give thanks, in advance, for ruining ONE of the best games I have played over the past 10 years. Congratulations, you really know how to take a beloved game, by thousands, and turn it into a steaming pile of crap that even my dog wouldn’t want to sniff . :/

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  6. Brian

    I’m definitely a Sim-Maker and an aspiring House-Builder, with your help of course 😉

    Honestly, I could create a thousand sims and still not want to have a video chat with one of them. How sad that sounds, to have a virtual chat with an imaginary character. Isn’t that why we have friends/family? This guy tries to come off sounding visionary but really it just radiates as being pathetic.

    Honestly, why don’t they start by making their games work, and if they want to make a service-oriented design how about:
    -Creating hairstyles that people actually have in real life, not this bullshit that looks semi-decent in thumbnails but grotesque in-game
    -Clothes that people might actually wear, not these ugly, poor-fitting and disproportionate rags they give us
    -And for god’s sake, textures that don’t seem to be the backdrop of some Soviet-era orphanage

    Though, of course, even if they did do this it would cost a fortune. Still, I’ve extorted 10000 SimPoints from lousy Customer Service representatives so it’s not like I’d be the one paying.

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  7. Beagle

    Wow. If this happens, I’m jumping ship too. I sort of think it nice if they would put an app so I could get custom chairs and whatnot, but why would I pay extra for that? Why can’t EA just put in chairs that are actually neat? And WHY would I EVER want to video chat with a Sim? That’s beyond creepy. I don’t want to video chat with real people, lol. Why would I want to video chat with pixels who don’t even speak my language and won’t respond properly to other things? Hopefully this is just some looney running his mouth.

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  8. Vivid Obscurity

    Yeah, this guy is a joke, and so is The Sims franchise if they take it in that direction. I’m willing to bet that more people will not buy it than buy it this time around, unless they somehow make it VERY appealing.

    Not surprising. They are always thinking of their own ideas, their own thoughts, their own bottom line, and don’t even pay attention to what the simmer wants. At least this retard doesn’t. He sounds like he’s on some big stoner trip.

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  9. jodi nasser

    This is so sad. He has no clue. It reminds me of the BS that I used to get from the guys who tried to pick me up at a bar when I was younger (way younger) The lines he is throwing out all seem to be some sort of double-talk. (What they really wanted was to have sex), they should have just said it! He should have just said, “we are not going to give you what you want we are going to do what we want and make us all the money we can so get out your wallets.” He seems to have a “vision” (say what!) He has a vision all right, a distorted one. I could not “get” what he was saying. Want to have a discussion with my sim? Could I have a discussion with George Washington? Oh please! at least he would have something to say about the state of things? (How likely is that?) What planet is he on? He is smoking some of that stuff, I smoked in the 60’s. All he needed to say in the ending paragraph, “I’m tripping, man, what a good ride.” “You can join me on this trip but, when you come down what a bummer.” There is so much that EA could do to maike the game better, but, what do they do? they fall for the crap that this guy is spewing, or are they just letting him spew this shit for us to think they are cool. They think Katy Perry is cool, so I guess they are guilible enough to believe this shit. Anyway, I am just going to play my game until I can’t take any more shit. I will buy what I want and what I do not want I will cast aside. I just hope the game lasts long enough for me to be able to get some enjoyment out of it.

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  10. miss tickle

    Actually, do you think that they could make it so that when I yell at my game for crashing, freezing or otherwise refusing to work properly, my sims could actually apologise on behalf of EA for the crapness of their product? Yeah, that I could go for.

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  11. Gargantua

    LOL! Yeah, I’m really going to take a picture of a chair I see somewhere and pay EA 20 bucks so I can have it in my game. Frankly, at the rate EA is going, I might be one of those who goes back to Sims 2, just so I can have a decent game to play when I feel like it, and not have to bite my nails in anxiety wondering if the game will even decide to load. I’m to the point now where I can’t create any new games in Sims 3 because they won’t load after I save, and these jokers think they can pull off these other ambitious projects. Thanks Bluebell! I really needed a good laugh this morning.

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  12. Brian

    So, basically, my friends on Facebook can think I’m some sort of creep because I send them a postcard with my Sims at the same vacation spot as me? Oh. He must be old and rich and not in tune with reality. Fire this doof and hire someone that understands the Sims.

    I like making pretty Sims, sometimes a little homewrecker-ish, and attempting to build interesting homes that challenge my thoughts.

    I agree about those people who have to rewrite the game simply to make it playable. It is insulting to us as consumers to churn games out that don’t work. If these rewriters didn’t exist I doubt the game would have done as well as it has.

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  13. Khiadra Anodynaegis

    Ugh, that ‘vision’for the Sims will almost certainly spell the end of the franchise. Which, now I think on it, isn’t really a bad thing. Maybe some smaller / smarter developer will pick it up and make something better of it. It has the potential to be such a great game… but EA aren’t capable of achieving that, it’s obvious.

    I’ll freely admit to spending more time building houses than actually playing, but the idea of a phone app is awful. And really, what are they thinking about the Sims interaction stuff? Have they gone off their collective rockers, thinking that appealing to the (hopefully) <1% of nutjobs in their audience is the way of the future? I don't know anyone who thinks their Sims are real or even wants them to be, and I'd be completely freaked out if anyone I knew started communing with their Sims. Yikes!

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  14. Bee

    It’s not a coincidence that EA has been voted as the worst company for customer service this year – they have no clue about their customers needs…

    Hey Blue if you get a FB request from Bee W, it’s from me, just couldn’t send a message with request like you used to…

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  15. Caspin

    The guy clearly needs help. He seems to have lost sight of the key feature of the sims – that they are virtual and cannot therefore be your real friends. But then maybe this really is how the younger generation, his target audience, see things – collecting “friends” on facebook etc, their “friends” being people they have never met and will never meet. Deary me. What a lot of loony ideas.

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  16. Thalia_NL

    Lets pray he was just smoking something at the time. I absolutey love your design and I would hate to see you leave when (if) the Sims 4 arrives. I’ve send you a friendrequest on the sims website because I’m an avid starterhome builder on the console version (pets) and now I’m going to start on the PC. Some likeminded buddies would be welcome 😉

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  17. dontletitbeforgot

    I have no interest in talking with my sims. They are like grown up versions of Barbie and Ken. I might have talked to Barbie as a child, but even then I knew she wasn’t REAL. I would like better tools for storytelling and better building tools to create more realistic houses but I certainly wouldn’t pay to have a real life version of a object in the game. If I want something I look for it among the creators if I can’t find it I do without.

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    1. Thalia_NL

      And as for the creators: why would we take all the fun out of the creating process (meshing, texturing, reading tutorials..) by replacing said proces with a lousy photo? If I wanted to do that, I would not have bought The Sims: I would have bought a camera.

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