GDC '08: Nearly 100M Sims sold

Exec in charge of Electronic Arts' hit virtual life franchise says the brand should hit a huge milestone next month.

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SAN FRANCISCO--With an abundance of expansions and spin-offs, it's no secret that the Sims franchise is huge for Electronic Arts. During a session yesterday at the Serious Games Summit portion of the Game Developers Conference, EA's vice president for global brand development of The Sims label Steve Seabolt gave attendees a glimpse of just how big the series really is.

"The Sims is a highly successful entertainment brand," Seabolt said. "In fact, we're coming up next month on selling our 100 millionth unit of The Sims, so it's mega mega. … We make so much money from The Sims--it is so profitable--that unlike other businesses, we don't have to sell it out with advertising and sponsorship and flog the user with advertising to make money."

While EA will enter into agreements with advertisers for The Sims, Seabolt said the publisher is very choosy about how it goes about that and is careful to make sure it's something players will welcome. For example, he mentioned a promotion that saw Sims players receive an in-game Ford Mustang. While Ford did pay EA for the product placement, Seabolt said many users looked at the car simply as a cool gift for their Sims to drive, not an ad.

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