OPINION — The Sims 4, a notoriously expensive game, released even more paid content on March 2, and not everyone is happy about it.
These additions are known as Kits, and they act as mini Packs. In a standard Pack, players will receive items for three categories: gameplay, create a Sim (CAS) and building. Kits contain items for only one category. This is meant to curb the problem with previous Packs, where players had to pay for all of the items in the Pack, despite only wanting the CAS or build items.
“There’s lots of options for you to pick and choose exactly what you want,” said an EA Community Manager and Administrator in the Sims 4 forums. “You may spend a lot of time building your dream home, while your friend may be a fashionista CAS artist, and your other friend loves creating stories. Not every Simmer plays the same way and we hope you find a Kit that is perfect for you.”
Packs typically cost somewhere between $9.99 and $49.99, but the Kits are priced at $4.99. In order for a player to purchase every piece of in-game content, they would have to shell out $789.59, including for the three new Kits.
This seems like a great idea on a surface level. Players can now pick and choose which items they purchase for their game, and the Kits are priced lower than the Packs to reflect the smaller amount of items. That being said, there are some who have concerns about what it might indicate regarding the game’s future.
Kayla Sims, a YouTuber who creates videos about the Sims 4 under the name lilsimsie, worries that a situation similar to the Sims 3 store will begin to unfold.
The Sims 3 store is a place where players could purchase new items for their game using Simpoints, which were obtained by paying for them with real money.
“Because while new content is always fun, a lot of us are completionists for the Sims, and you wanna buy every Pack. And now you’ve got $15 of more packs today and maybe $5 in a few months, and it adds up so fast for a game that’s already so expensive,” Sims said.
She’s not the only one who feels this way. In an article for VG24/7, Rebecca Jones discusses the Sims 3 store as well.
“But I can’t shake the feeling that the introduction of Kits marks a return to what, for me (though obviously not all players), feels like the bad old days of the franchise,” Jones wrote. “The Sims 4 doesn’t always get things right, but until now they have at least resisted the urge to charge you one actual real dollar to give your Sim a new haircut, even though history had taught them they could do it.”
My own concern regarding the Kits is that it feels like a form of financial gatekeeping. With custom content constantly being curated for free by talented modders, I don’t usually feel the need to purchase items for the Sims 4, but I can clearly imagine younger players who feel jealous of their favorite YouTubers for having all of the packs. Sims also discussed the way it felt before she was a popular YouTuber, and how she feels now.
“I used to be so sad and so jealous when LifeSimmer would use some cool Sims 3 store item that I couldn't have and couldn't afford, and I feel like I'm gonna be that for you — I'm gonna be the one using this cool stuff that you can't have. It kind of already is that way, but now it's even worse,” Sims said.