Electronic Arts are playing their favourite game again, ‘flog the dead horse’, only this time, the marketing people are pummelling a pony fresh from the womb. Recently released create ‘em up, Spore, from developer Maxis is already receiving an expansion pack in November titled ‘cute and creepy parts pack’. The alliteration in the name already makes for a catchy title, but is EA about to repeat the Sims marketing strategy on the gaming public?
Whilst I intended to make a bit of a snipe at Spore with the title of this blog, it has occurred to me that flowery hats could in fact be a new addition to the ‘cute’ side of the game. Of course, being EA, they will probably go on to churn out as many products as they can related to Spore until a true sequel comes out, at which point they will rinse and repeat.
The Sims for example, had a series of seven expansion packs after the original was released which included the titles ‘The Sims: Hot Date’ and ‘The Sims: Unleashed’. These let your Sims go out on dates and also adopt pets (thankfully, not allowing a hybrid of the two ideas) amongst other things.
The Sims 2 then came out, and over a period of three years or so, brought another eight expansions with it. Your virtual people could now go to university and experience different states of weather. To go with this immense money churning machine was the arrival of ‘stuff packs’. There are currently nine of these, with the tenth arriving in November. Rather curiously, the ninth edition was the ‘IKEA Home Stuff’ collection that let you cover your dream house in affordable Swedish flat pack furniture. Why anyone would want to do this in a dream situation is a bit odd, as those of us who own IKEA products often bought them as the bitter grief of real life forced us to compromise somewhere.
Maybe Spore will have a different fate, only having a few expansions that are all meaningful and don’t just mean that your creatures can now order pizza and experience online dating. With the same people at the helm who made the Sims however, it does not look like it will deviate from this big money spinning route.