For months, Sims Mobile had a big problem.
Despite its bright, engaging design and stylish gameplay, Sims Mobile was beginning to lose its long-time players. After living and breathing the game for several months, the most dedicated players quickly reached the game’s inherent progress “caps,” hitting level 60, maxing all careers, hobbies, and relationships, obtaining the peak lifestyle title “Toast of the Town,” and completing the EcoWorkshop. While such a state of absolute completion is worthy of bragging rights, the experience effectively kills the game for those who desire progression.
Progression is a strange and sometimes wily beast. Adept game designers must continually provide players with a sense of progression without completely overwhelming or boring them. Once a player has reached maximum level, there is little impetus for them to continue grinding the game’s offered content. Sims Mobile players stopped playing through hobbies and careers, stopped maxing relationships, stopped visiting EcoWorkshop, stopped engaging with LlamaZoom. Some players put the game down all together. After all, what was the point?
The Sims Festival, rolled out April 19th, 2021, effectively addresses the issue of game progression for many.
In a brilliant move that weaves together the time-worn events of Sims Mobile while simultaneously breathing new life into them, the Sims Festival offers players a feeling of progression as they earn pink tickets for completing certain career, hobby, relationship, and EcoWorkshop events. Players then turn in those tickets in return for prizes.
Suddenly, players who had maxed Sims Mobile career, relationship, and hobby stories had a reason to return to them. Because the improved task list also often asks for a specific sort of completed event, it often forces players to work outside of their comfort zone.
For example, a seasonal task (larger tasks that offer larger pay offs) might ask the player to earn a certain number of simoleons in a certain area— say the courthouse. If the player does not currently have Sims who work at the courthouse, then they will be forced to make a Sim change their career or introduce a new Sim into gameplay. This shakes up even the most entrenched of mobile Simming habits and makes the game feel almost new again. In addition, the seasonal tasks often ask players to purchase or develop new lots. This encourages even the most weary veteran to reinvest in building, a staple feature of the Sims since time immemorial.
This new feature finally rewards players for doing what was already offered in game on a regular basis, encouraging jaded players to log in several times a day for their festival tickets.
Predictably, perhaps, this much needed change did not come without a cost. While free-to-play players can now complete tasks in return for prize-winning pink tickets, they earn significantly less than “festival-ticket-track” players. For $9.99 USD, players who pay can earn up to 56 prizes over the course of 50 days. Free-to-play players can earn less than 15 prizes for the same effort.
For the same effort but after paying $9.99, paying players can win the following prizes in addition to large sums of simoleons, SimCash, and fashion gems.
This is the rub for some Sims Mobile players, who are quickly realizing that the lion’s share of mobile events are revenue-generating ones.
The trouble that is microtransactions, however, is not a Sims Mobile specific one. Indeed, it is the mobile game standard in which all free-to-play mobile games participate.
Even so, some players point out that while they expected a difference between the “free” and “paid” festival tracks, they did not expect such a large difference.
In the end, however, both new and old players have re-engaged with the game that houses their precious pixel people, and this is, without a doubt, a positive thing.