The Sims(tm) to Become MMO?

A senior executive at Electronic Arts (EA), the company which owns the Sims franchise, said that in light of the popularity of virtual worlds and other computer games which allow players to compete with each other via the web, the Sims may soon become a multi-player game.

It has to be a joke, right? Nancy Smith, if anyone, should be familiar with the now-euthanized EA-Land, nee The Sims Online, which was, in fact, a MMO experience based on The Sims.

But I’m thinking maybe the reporter missed the story here. I’m thinking that the point is not to turn the Sims 2 or 3 into another MMO, but to take a page from Facebook and Spore and make the Sims more of a massively single player experience, but with extensive social elements.

In other words, the doll houses are not all in the same shared town — you might visit a friend’s house, but don’t expect shared public spaces, since that’s most likely where TSO went wrong. The point is to put our creations in a shared, explorable experience (not necessarily one big space), but leave the personal drama to someone else.

Which only goes to bolster my "antisocial" theory of on-line fun. Yes, some people want to discover strangers randomly. But given how badly strangers can and do act in on-line spaces, ranging from usenet to Second Life, I think my theory works pretty well for the other 90% of us who prefer to meet new friends more through mutual interests, activities, and introductions, than via common coordinates and/or curious costumes.

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