The Sims take the Stage

EA premieres free-to-participate audio-visual performance community based on Will Wright's widely popular franchise.

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In February, Electronic Arts acquired online karaoke community SingShot. Though no specific plans for the music-oriented networking site were laid out, EA did note that the SingShot team would work with its Sims division. The first product of this partnership quickly followed in March, when EA signed on the services of British pop star Lily Allen to judge an online karaoke contest sung in simlish--the garbled language spoken by in-game sims characters--to promote The Sims 2 Seasons expansion pack.

Since then, EA has kept a low profile with its SingShot brand. The reason for that, it would appear, was announced today, as EA took the wraps off The Sims On Stage. Currently in beta form, On Stage is an online community built around user-created karaoke songs, stories, comedy routines, or other creative audio or visual performances. According to EA, On Stage includes "thousands of well-known rock, pop, and country songs," and users can record their performances with a webcam and microphone.

The site includes tools that help users create, view, and share their recordings with their friends or the community at large. EA also mentioned it would include tools for creating movies of The Sims 2 content, which is already a popular emergent gameplay aspect of the game. According to an EA representative, users will be able to splice together their own footage or others' shared creations with more than 350 audio clips and images from The Sims 2 to create the videos. These videos and other recordings can then be shared with other social networking sites, such as YouTube.

The Sims On Stage beta site supplants the SingShot community site and launches today. The service is free of charge and open to both PC and Mac users, but it does require a broadband connection. The Sims On Stage will not require a copy of either The Sims 2 or The Sims to participate.

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