One of the best-selling videogame franchises of all time, life simulation The Sims is giving away its most recent version over the course of the next week.
Digital dollhouse, computer goldfish bowl, improvised drama diorama and life choices experiment The Sims 4 is free to keep on Mac and PC until May 28, 2019 via its publisher's download platform, Origin.com.
First released in 2014, the basic version of The Sims 4 allows players to design their own people (called Sims) and guide them, to one degree or another, through various aspects of physical and personal growth, academic and career choices, friendships, relationships, and family life.
Houses and apartments can also be constructed, arranged and decorated according to players' desire, level of engagement, and success at creating lucrative lifestyles for their Sims.
There's a light multiplayer element too, allowing players to share house and Sim designs through an online Gallery feature; some fans continue to work on an unofficial "SimSync" modification intended to add a fuller multiplayer experience.
Since launch, it has been supported with not only five years of free incremental updates but also a rolling schedule of optional, paid-for add-ons, separate from the current free giveaway.
Those include six sizeable expansion packs, which introduced new careers, social clubs, urban lifestyles, pets, seasons, and celebrity pursuits, as well as a host of smaller packs oriented around new buildings, personality traits, household items and so on.
Separate console editions of The Sims 4 were released for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2017, and while those are not included in the free offer, other official versions of The Sims have been and remain free to play.
The Sims FreePlay for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, and BlackBerry emerged in 2011 and gave players full control over each Sim, rather than the traditional partial guidance seen in the console and PC versions; players deal with three types of virtual currencies and have to wait for their Sims to complete various actions.
It was effectively superseded by the introduction of Android and iOS app The Sims Mobile in 2017, which sticks much closer to The Sims 4 in its approach to character creation and house construction and decoration.
Just as the free giveaway of The Sims 4 is supported by the continuing availability of paid-for expansions, The Sims Mobile invites players to put money into the game through the use of SimCash, which they can then spend on costumes, furniture options, and re-energizing their Sims.
As a whole, The Sims has sold over 200 million copies since the franchise's debut in the year 2000.
That feat places it among the best-selling video game series of all time, a status shared with the likes of Minecraft, Tetris, Fifa, Pokémon, Call Of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and the Mario games. – AFP Relaxnews