As the rumour mill surrounding the upcoming release of The Sims 5 hits full flow, we take a look back at the history of the seminal franchise and which versions of the game you can currently play on your mobile device.
The History of The Sims
The first instalment of the series that we know and love was developed by Maxis, a studio already responsible for a number of simulation games including the equally enduring SimCity titles. The Sims was released in early 2000, published by Electronic Arts and was immediately received to both critical and public acclaim.
The open-ended simulation of daily activities turned the idea of a conventional video game on its head offering no way of ‘completing’ the game or suffering at the hands of a game over screen. Instead, players took control of one or more virtual residents (Sims) of a suburban district of the aforementioned SimCity.
Through the character creation options, all aspects of a Sim’s personality and appearance could be customised before they’re dropped into the residential street. Next up was the task of building and personalising your new inhabitant’s home, earning money, attracting a love interest and sitting back and watching each unique story unfold.
Two years after its release, the original game had sold in excess of 6 million copies which made it the most successful video game in history at the time. Following the success of the PC title, 2003 saw the release of ports to XBOX, Playstation 2 and Gamecube.
The Sims 3
After a slew of expansion packs, spin-offs and the first main series sequel (The Sims 2), the The Sims 3 was released in June 2009. As well as being compatible on the PC and Mac, it was also the first time fans could play The Sims on compatible mobile devices. New, more in-depth customisation options and a fully open world engine made The Sims 3 an instant hit, selling 1.4 million copies in its first week.
The now discontinued mobile version was released to Windows Phone, iOS, Android and BlackBerry OS platforms and featured controls and content adapted for the smaller screens and limited input options of mobile devices.
A freemium title, The Sims FreePlay arrived to the app stores in 2011 and still receives seasonal content updates to this day. It has been described as a “beautiful reimagining of The Sims 3” and has received over 100 million downloads on the Google Play store alone.
The Sims 4 & Mobile Issues
The fourth instalment of the series was launched in 2014. The Sims 4 was the first blip in the popularity of the series, receiving some criticism for a lack of content and functionality compared to previous releases. Some theorised that the decision to strip back the game may have been made to encourage more sales of paid DLC.
As of now, due in part to the continued support of The Sims FreePlay, there is no official port of The Sims 4 to any mobile platform. This has been a sticking point for fans of the latest version of the game, as the processing power of the latest generation of smart devices far exceeds that of dedicated gaming consoles of that era so there are certainly no technical limitations which are preventing a mobile version being developed.
But there is hope for players who want the genuine Sims 4 experience on the go. For example, franchises such as Grand Theft Auto and Mortal Kombat have versions of their popular games that can be played on a phone or tablet. This review of online casino apps also shows the versatility of modern devices, and their ability to support real-time and interactive games, so it really should not be an issue for the latest version of The Sims.
As technology advances and fans of the latest installment of the game voice their desire for it to be compatible on phones or tablets, it should only be a matter of time before a mobile version is made available.
The Sims Mobile
The Sims Mobile is a mobile version of the series, and it is the closest to the Sims 4 in terms of gameplay and user experience. Released in 2018, it was the first time that players were able to enjoy an official multiplayer element (mods withstanding) in the history of the franchise. While some criticise the game for its pay to progress mechanic, it’s a successful paring down of its big brother, The Sims 4. It does not offer the full experience of The Sims 4, but it did help to satisfy the desires of a small portion of the fans who wanted a mobile version.
The Sims 5
In an interview with EA COO Laura Miele in 2021, the development of The Sims 5 was confirmed. But with no official release date as of yet, it’s been up to fans of the series to speculate how the new game might look as well as any important inclusions and omissions.
The Sims Legacy
A new generation of players seem to be getting on the Sims hype. Developers of the games, from the Sims 2 onwards, enlisted the help of pop artists to cover their songs in the game’s own language, Simlish, which helped spread the word to a new crop of gamers.
Katy Perry, Lily Allen, and My Chemical Romance are just a few of the names that have gone into the studio to re-record some of their biggest hits in the gobbledygook tongue. The Sims memes also have a fandom all of their own
The legacy of the series lives on not only in the Sims titles themselves but also how it inspired other breakthrough releases like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley whose focus is more on relaxing meditation than fast paced action. With the huge popularity of mobile devices and the importance of mobile gaming for the modern generation of Sims fans, the creators will surely step up their game when it comes to releasing mobile version of the much loved series.