Some people might remember SimCity, which was a city-builder that was released in 1989 by Maxis. Said game proved to be popular, so much so that it inspired a number of follow-ups as well as a number of other simulation games, with examples including but not limited to SimAnt, SimFarm, and SimSafari. However, there are a lot of people in the present who will be most familiar with Maxis, which is now EA Maxis, because of The Sims, which has been one of the best-selling series that can be found on the planet for some time.
For those who are unfamiliar with the series, The Sims started out when Maxis co-founder Will Wright lost his home to the Oakland firestorm of 1991, with the result that he had to replace his home as well as the rest of his possessions. The experience prompted him to consider a game based around it, though it wasn't until Maxis had been bought out by EA that the executives were willing to give him the go-ahead. As a result, The Sims came into existence as what has been called a "virtual doll house" with no predetermined goals, which might explain some of its popularity.
Regardless, The Sims was released in 2000 before proceeding to sell 16 million copies, which was enough to make it the single best-selling PC game at one point in time. Since then, The Sims has been followed up by three main installments, each of which has managed to sell at least 10 million copies. Never mind the DLCs, the expansion packs, and the various spin-offs that have been released as well. Summed up, it is clear that The Sims series has been very, very successful, which in turn, makes The Sims series very, very valuable.
What Is the Value of The Sims Franchise?
Summed up, it is clear that The Sims franchise is worth a lot. Unfortunately, there is no simple and straightforward method for estimating what that value might be because there are a number of complicating factors.
For example, a fair amount of the value of a successful franchise consists of the goodwill that has been built up in the fans as well as other potential players. After all, a positive impression increases the chance that someone will pay attention to news of further releases from the series while also increasing the chance that they will actually take the step of spending upon it, thus making them much likelier though still not guaranteed to become a paying customer. However, there are good reasons why goodwill is such a notorious problems in accounting, so much so that it is often calculated as being just the price paid for a purchase minus the fair market value of the assets that can be identified. Said method isn't exactly what anyone would call a sophisticated use of accounting science, but the fact that it is so popular should speak volumes about the challenges of coming up with a numerical value for something as nebulous as goodwill.
Furthermore, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that The Sims series will remain profitable for the foreseeable future. In short, EA makes a lot of its revenues from The Sims on DLC, meaning that someone who becomes invested in the series can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on a single installment as well as its add-ons. Generally speaking, this sort of spending tends to make said individuals more than a little bit reluctant to move on to newer installments, not least because they know very well that they are going to have to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars more if they want to get the full experience. This is particularly true if the base game isn't perceived as a significant step-up compared to its predecessor, which is without considering other issues such as figuring out what can and can't be put into DLCs without alienating consumers who might otherwise be interested in the base game. Suffice to say that EA has made plenty of mistakes in the past when it comes to gauging the moods of potential players, meaning that while The Sims has proven to be very popular so far, it isn't exactly far-fetched to imagine a future in which it has fallen victim to its own success to various extents.
In other words, there is no real way to tell what one of EA's most successful cash-cows might be worth, but it seems reasonable to speculate that it might be in the hundreds of millions at least.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker