The Sims passes 100-million mark

Electronic Arts celebrates that the franchise has sold in mind-boggling numbers since its launch in 2000.

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The best-selling PC game franchise of all time just got a bit more best-selling. EA announced today that The Sims series has now sold 100 million copies worldwide since it launched in 2000. Since the first game, the series has been translated into 22 different languages and sold in 60 countries around the world. According to the New York Times, the franchise has generated over $4 billion for its publisher, Electronic Arts--or around $500 million per year.

The first Sims game was the brainchild of celebrated game developer Will Wright, and was released for the PC on EA's Maxis label just over eight years ago. Dozens of expansion packs, spin-offs, and console ports followed, and this trend continued after the launch of The Sims 2 in 2004. The launch of The Sims 3, recently announced for 2009, will let a new generation of virtual humans wander around their neighbourhoods freely for the first time.

The virtual-life sim lets players customise a sim or group of sims and direct their day-to-day lives, including building and decorating their houses, choosing their career paths, and managing their relationships with others. Each month, The Sims 2 Web site has over 4.3 million unique visitors, who have downloaded more than 70 million user-created items, including furniture, outfits, and sims themselves. The game has also been a surprise hit on YouTube, where gamers have posted some 100,000 movies showing their sims.

According to EA, "If 100 million boxes of The Sims were lined up end-to-end, they would stretch from New York city to Moscow. And, with 100 million sold, one out of seven homes in Europe and one out of three homes in America would have a product of The Sims franchise."

Those who wish to celebrate The Sims' success can download some new duds for their Sims 2 characters on April 16 from the game's official Web site.

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