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Lillian’s Lowdown: “The Sims 4” is free, yet way too expensive

“The Sims 4,” released in 2014, is a beloved video game from a franchise that holds fond memories for many. Whether you remember your heart dropping when hearing the burglar theme in the first game or whether you’re still figuring out how to play after just downloading the fourth game, “The Sims” has become a classic widely recognized for its fun, casual gameplay. Last year, “The Sims 4” was made more accessible after Electronic Arts, or EA, announced that the game would become free to download. But this rings hollow upon seeing the game’s true price: a whopping $1,054. 

How does a free game add up to cost so much? That number includes the price for every piece of downloadable content offered by EA. There’s expansion packs and game packs, which both add a new world to explore along with gameplay changes, as well as kits and stuff packs, which add some new items to the game. Expansion packs tend to be the most expensive (around $40) while kits tend to be the least (around $5). Currently, “The Sims 4” has over 60 add-ons that players have the option for paying for, and they don’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. 

Downloadable content, or DLC, isn’t new for “The Sims.” The franchise has had expansion packs ever since the first game, marked by the release of “The Sims: Livin’ Large.” But “The Sims 4” has the most downloadable content out of any game in the franchise so far, with many of them adding very little to the game. Each add-on together makes for a complete, well-rounded experience, but separately, they tend to be a hit-or-miss that most players find themselves getting bored of within a few days. 

Besides the varying quality of all of the “The Sims 4” DLC, many of them simply aren’t worth the price. In any other game, most of this DLC would be included for free in a game update. Instead, the only thing that comes free with the expensive add-ons are the game-breaking bugs. For the packs to be worth their price, they’d need to add a truly significant amount to the already existing gameplay that “The Sims 4” provides, but in their current state, they just don’t. 

As enjoyable as playing “The Sims” is, it’s not worth dropping over $1,000 on. Frankly, no video game is. Compare the total price of “The Sims 4” to other entertaining, relaxing games that “The Sims” players also commonly enjoy, like “Stardew Valley,” which is $15, or “Animal Crossing,” the latest release of which is about $60. “The Sims” is unique in its gameplay, history and environmental storytelling, but none of that can justify such a high price tag, especially when newer simulator games of similar quality are significantly more affordable.

“The Sims” isn’t a bad game, but it is an egregiously expensive one. EA charges the amount it charges because it knows people will buy it, especially in the smaller installments it provides. However, the consequence is a base game that feels empty. Whether you invest money in the game or not is a personal choice. Just keep in mind that $1,054 price tag. 

Lillian Barry is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to share your thoughts? Let Lillian know by tweeting her at @lillianbarry_.

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