Sitting on the Sims 3 Showtime Fence

Never in recent memory has a pending expansion pack for the Sims PC Game series caused so much controversy. It has polarised the sims community and caused heated debates on both official and unofficial forums. It has certainly given something of a shake up to long term simmers like myself.

Since it was announced on the official forum back at the start of December this EP has earned more than its fair-share in over and under reactions from sims fans. I feel it is now time to reflect on what we know about it and how we have seen the community react.

So what exactly is it that has caused such strong reactions?
Well, there are two features in particular that seem to have inflamed passionate debate.

Below is a picture taken from the Showtime information page where it details the highlights of the new EP:
The first thing to cause a lot of simmers to see red is the inclusion of new Social Features.  The second thing that is causing a lot of debate is the Simport feature.

For many of the sims community the game has been an activity that they play privately, as a part of their leisure time, deliberately unconnected to the ‘real world’.  For these simmers the game represents a much needed break from reality where they can do as they please without anyone interfering. They choose to share only what they want to share of their games and when they do it is usually outside of game play not during it. So they find the idea of in game messaging abhorrent. In a similar vein many simmers do not like the concept of other people’s sims appearing in their game or even just requesting to appear in their game.

In an effort to cool the flames of simmer outrage one of the development team, SimGuruSnelson, created a post intended to address the concerns the community had:

Unfortunately this created more questions than it answered. Although it did state that the Social Features and Simport would be optional, it failed to state exactly what control players would have over this or how the new friendship system would work. This has led to theories spiralling out of control about how it will work and what we will and won’t be able to control.

Part of me thinks that we should have seen this coming as the Sims 3 Series began social connectivity with the Generations EP and the ability share sim memories on Facebook or your sim page. Also the Facebook game version, The Sims Social, was launched last year and proved quite popular, at least at first. I admit that I tried it but I soon became sick of the fact that it was ‘real time’ and that you had to send endless requests to friends in order to achieve certain things. I was happier when I deleted my Sims Social account and went back to my ordinary sims game which is less time intensive and always on my own terms.  I appreciate that EA are reaching out to a new audience but I fear that they are forgetting the older fanbase in the process.

For me personally it’s not the Social Features or Simport that is causing buyer hesitation, although I do want more detailed information on them before I’ll consider purchasing it, but the lack of original new content that will be included in it. Until now Sims expansion packs have shipped with lots of new in game interactions and content but this one seems, so far at least, sorely lacking. It appears to be a rehashed version of Sims Superstar with a few other bits from previous incarnations, such as fire-dancing and the pool table, and one new world based around chasing fame. It seems odd that when the series has already introduced a celebrity based system with the Late Night EP that it would then create a whole new EP with yet more celebrity features.

Since the original Sims came out many moons ago I have rushed out and bought every addition to it and I’ve been thoroughly sucked into the Sims 3 Store also. So I feel a little bit sad that I’m not feeling the same excited anticipation about this one. Instead I’m approaching it with caution. However I am a fickle simmer like many others, if anything will swing me towards it is has to be that damned pool table as I’ve wanted that back in my game ever since I made Merlotte’s Bar & Grill and had to use the foosball table instead.

So, I will be watching the first fan reviews of this EP closely to see what the real deal is and, talking of real deals, I’ll most likely be shopping around to find it at the cheapest price, as for once I won’t be rushing out on release day to get my grubby little paws on my usual drug of choice.

Let me have your considered thoughts on it, I’m genuinely interested as to what might pull you in or repel you from buying the Showtime EP.

~Kat

Edit: As if by magic the Sims 3 Producers updated their blog today with a little more info about the pack – I’m still on the fence until I see the community reviews but it does sound like a whole new in game menu will come along for the social features.

As for the Katy Perry Limited Edition announced today, it’s not my cup of tea although the official forum seems fairly keen, I feel celebrity endorsements sully the game somewhat. But the marketing seems to be working a treat on other people so I’m clearly in a minority.

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16 thoughts on “Sitting on the Sims 3 Showtime Fence

  1. This is an excellently written article. It is also the first EP since the beginning of the Sims, that I have not been excited about. It will be the first I have not pre-ordered and may be the first I don’t add to my game at all. I am in a “wait and see” mode as to what the reaction is once it is released and others have purchased and played. I am one of those that do not want any invasion of my privacy and I really do not want my game interrupted when I am concentrating on a creation, by the “social” feature. I don’t want posts on a wall in my game!! So it will be interesting to see what they mean by all of this, how does it affect the game, what changes does it bring to the looks of the game. Is the screen going to have all this other stuff around on it that will be totally distracting, or what? I’m not in any hurry to rush out and buy this one …

    Thank you for your article!!

    (It’s me – Okie 🙂 )

    • Thank you Melody – I did think you were one of those whom was less-than-enamoured with the social features. Looks like both you and me are now in a holding pattern until we’ve seen more. I wish I could see the pre-order reports…lol

  2. The expansion pack seems useless for me to buy. I probably won’t buy it and wait til Seasons come out. Well, I’m hoping they make a seasons.

    • Lee – thank you for you comment – you are echoing a cry I have heard across the community for seasons. I do think seasons will seriously up the graphic requirements for Sims 3 however which is why I think EA are avoiding the topic.
      Your reaction is proof that they may have made a mistake with this EP, if it damages their sales they might have to reassess their future plans. However there is a whole other section of the Sims 3 community that seem very excited about the social features. It just makes me sad that it has caused such a division in the community.

  3. I’m with you both, Kat and Melody. I’m very much sitting on that same pointy fence, uncomfortably. At the time this comes out, I may well not be able to purchase it, anyway, due to income restraints. However, even if I can, I’ll probably wait a while–something new for me. I’ve always tried to make sure I’ve had my new EPs on release day or within a few days thereafter. This time…maybe not.

    Your article was very well done. Good job, Kat!

    • Hearing you say that Linda definitely rings alarm bells as you have always been among the first to buy and explore new additions to the game. I understand money may also be an issue which is why more than ever simmers are looking for good value and quality content.
      Thank you for your comment x

  4. This is the first expansion that I don’t have that “I cannot wait” feeling. Perghaps I will buy it bit I won’t use the simport at all. Don’t trust it look the circus at ea forums at the moment with that crazy poster!

    • Louise you are saying what a lot of older simmers have been saying at the forum. It seems a shame that many of us are not excited about it and that even if we do buy it we feel that we won’t use all it’s capabilities. If the social features weren’t such a central part of this EP I believe it would be less of a problem. But the fact that they are being used as a unique selling point is what is putting off a lot of people
      Also I know what you mean about the lack of real security at the official forum. The fact that EA are trying to reassure people about the security of the new features by saying that they will be similar to those used at the official site is actually a bit laughable. They can’t stop the trolls there so how will they stop them in game?

  5. I think the reason many people are fence sitting on this EP is because of a lack of trust in EA. They promise things, but don’t deliver. They still have problems with the Adventures EP, and yet they want us to trust them to be able to move our sims into other people’s games without major glitches. They already have functions that are “optional” that have difficulty being turned off, yet they want us to trust them when they say these new social features are optional and can be turned off if we want. They gather information from our games, yet expect us to trust them that we will be able to maintain our privacy if we install this pack. Trust is earned, and at this point EA has not earned enough trust from me to allow this EP into my game. 😦

    • Amen to that Faithy…I’ve said for a Looooong time that EA should fix their damn bugs and they always fix some but conveniently forget about others and then seem to create more. This bug apathy issue has driven some simmers like Eric (ejnarts1) away from EA totally. And this social media inclusion will drive away others. I really hope they’ve got something amazing they can pull out of the bag to pull a few people back or the franchise will be in trouble!

  6. Very well written article, and I completely agree with everything you’ve said. I am extremely nervous about how this EP will change the way that I play the game, and I’m honestly not sure if I will purchase it. I agree with FaithfulApostle about EA needing to fix bugs as well. I think they should take a pause, fix a lot of the problems that many people have with the current games, and then think about making more EPs. I am a long time Sims lover, and the last thing that I want is for the game I’ve always known and loved to be completely changed, and turn into something I cannot enjoy.

    • Thank you for your comment, I’m glad so many of us are voicing our concerns about this publicly as it seems to be the only way EA will listen.
      More recently I was angry when they did the live Q&A about Showtime and deliberately stated at the start that they were “not going to focus on the social features”. It was a very obvious sidestep which is rude to their customers when you consider that 2 of the key features for this EP are centered around social interaction. So far I feel that I do not have enough information to make a decision to buy the pack. I am still thoroughly on the fence if not a bit further away from it.

      • Yes I watched it and was impressed by the content of the EP, but annoyed that they didn’t explain more about the social parts of it. I hope that they will listen too because I think if people are able to learn more about it, they will be able to convince more people to try it!

  7. Pingback: The Sims 3: Late Night Expansion Pack Trailer & Features | Asilee Sims

  8. Pingback: The Sims 3 – Social Features Coming with March 2012 Game Update | krazyangelkat81sobsessions

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