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Sims 4 on the way, but will people forget the SimCity debacle?

With The Sims 4, EA and Maxis are hoping to avoid the issues that plagued the launch of SimCity. 

By Matthew Shaer / May 6, 2013

The Sims 4 is set for launch in 2014, Maxis and EA announced today. Here, a screenshot from The Sims 3.

Electronic Arts

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Video game developer Maxis announced today that it has begun development of The Sims 4, the next title in the popular strategy series. According to Electronic Arts, Maxis's parent company, The Sims 4 will launch on Mac and PC sometime next year. 

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"The Sims franchise is fueled by the passion and creativity of its millions of fans around the world," EA staffers wrote on the company blog. "Their continued devotion to the franchise ignites the fire of creativity of the team at The Sims Studio, driving them to continually improve and innovate on one of the world’s most successful simulation game that has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide." 

Emphasis on "improve and innovate," which is a PR-speak way of promising that the launch of The Sims 4 will be much less disastrous than the March launch of SimCity.

Monitor readers will remember that SimCity, which was also developed by Maxis, was hampered by widespread (and really embarrassing) server issues. Many people simply could not play the game during its launch week. First, EA encouraged affected users to disable "non-critical gameplay features" in order to get the title up and running; later, it issued an extensive apology. 

"More people played and played in ways we never saw in the beta," Lucy Bradshaw, a general manager at Maxis, said in a March 18 interview with The Associated Press. "OK, we agree, that was dumb, but we are committed to fixing it. In the last 48 hours, we increased server capacity by 120 percent. It’s working – the number of people who have gotten in and built cities has improved dramatically."

Maxis also offered frustrated customers the opportunity to download one of eight free games, including Dead Space 3, Mass Effect 3, and Medal of Honor: Warfighter. 

The SimCity debacle, even a month and a half after launch, still casts a long shadow. Still, there is one way Maxis and EA can make sure that consumers forget about past messes: Ensure that The Sims 4, when it finally arrives, goes off without a hitch.

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