The Sims Online

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The Sims Online
The Sims Online cover
Publisher(s)EA Games
Producer(s)Margaret Ng
Virginia Ellen McArthur
Designer(s)Will Wright
Chris Trottier
Jenna Chalmers
Programmer(s)Jeff Lind
Greg Kearney
Artist(s)Bob King
Composer(s)Jerry Martin
SeriesThe Sims
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows
  • NA: December 17, 2002
Genre(s)Massively multiplayer online social simulation

The Sims Online, also known as EA-Land, was a massively multiplayer online variation on Maxis' video game The Sims. It was published by Electronic Arts and released in December 2002 for Microsoft Windows. The game was sold in retail stores in North America and Japan and could also be downloaded worldwide through the online store, though the game was English-only and had no official translations. The game charged a subscription fee of US $9.99 per month. In March 2007, EA announced that the product would be re-branded as EA-Land and major enhancements would be made. EA later announced that the game would shut down all activity on August 1, 2008.[3]



The logo of EA-Land

In March 2007, Electronic Arts employee Luc Barthelet, who served as General Manager of Maxis during the development of The Sims,[4] assembled a team to push significant updates to the game under a project titled "TSO-E".

A major update to the game was user custom content. The TSO-E developers were interested in user-submitted ideas on how they could maintain a stable economy to negate the gains players made illegitimately through exploits.[5] Custom objects were enabled within TSO in late 2007, allowing players to upload .bmp and .jpg images as well as .iff files. Furniture could be created and uploaded in the form of single-tiled chairs, sculptures, and decorations and multi-tiled tables.

TSO-E developers combined the game's cities into two similar cities, re-branded the game as EA-Land, and erased player data. Test Center 3 was created freely accessible in hopes of expanding the game's userbase, and in-game ATMs were added, which could accept real money for Simoleons, in hopes of generating revenue.


In April 2008, four weeks after EA-Land was launched, it was announced that the development team had disassembled, and that the game would shut down on August 1 the same year. This day of announcement was referred to as the "EA-Land Sunset". Maxis stated that the development team would be moving on to other projects.[3][6][7]

Since 2002, EA Land / TSO has attracted a very special group of players and we certainly appreciate your participation in the community. The lifetime of the game has drawn to an end, and now we will be focusing on new ideas and other innovative concepts in the games arena. We would like to thank everyone who has taken part in this online community as a unique experience in the virtual world.

EA expressed disappointment in sales over the lifetime of the game. The Sims Online was widely seen as a failed attempt to port the single-player game to an online, multiplayer environment.[3]


The Sims Online received generally mixed reviews from magazines and websites. Andrew Park from GameSpot stated[8]

Instead of walking into a house and seeing a bunch of people throwing a party and doing fun stuff, it's not uncommon to see them just sitting there frantically playing chess or writing on a chalkboard in large groups just trying to improve their skills and make lots of money. Unfortunately ... there really isn't that much to do with money except building your own house with your own skill objects and your own job objects.

Later variations[edit]

The Sims Bustin' Out featured a very similar and free online play exclusive to the PlayStation 2 version that allowed players to play online and chat with a USB keyboard. This game shut down the same day as The Sims Online on August 1, 2008. In 2008, the lead developers of The Sims Online that had left Maxis founded and launched a free browser-based game called TirNua. MySims featured an online play mode aimed at younger children for PC. However, the server was shut down on November 26, 2011.

A similar revival of the game, called The Sims Social, released August 9, 2011 exclusively on Facebook. It allowed players to play with friends, chat and send items to each other. Electronic Arts and Maxis shut down The Sims Social, SimCity Social, and Pet Society on June 14, 2013.[9]

On January 6, 2017, FreeSO, a fan-made recreation of The Sims Online created by Rhys Simpson, was released in an "open beta" phase.[10]



  1. ^ IGN: The Sims Online Archived 2008-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ The Sims Online for PC – The Sims Online PC Game – The Sims Online Computer Game Archived 2008-07-25 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b c Terdiman, Daniel. "'EA Land' closing just weeks after debut". Crave. Archived from the original on 2011-06-17. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  4. ^ "The Sims/Did You Know?". StrategyWiki. 20 May 2009. Archived from the original on August 15, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2011.
  5. ^ "Stratics Message Forums: Discussion about new ideas for economy". Archived from the original on 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2007-05-16. Luc Barthelet message board post
  6. ^ Duncan Riley (26 February 2008). "EA Turns The Sims Online Into Free EA Land, Second Life Competitor". TechCrunch. Archived from the original on 2015-06-29. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  7. ^ a b "EA FAQ: What are the details of EA Land's Sunset? Electronic Arts". Archived from the original on 2012-12-16. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  8. ^ Park, Andrew (January 6, 2003). "The Sims Online Video Review (PC)". GameSpot. Time: 3:14. Archived from the original on May 7, 2010. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  9. ^ Welch, Chris (April 15, 2013). "EA shutting down 'Sims Social' and other Facebook games, insists 'activity has fallen off'". The Verge. Vox Media. Archived from the original on 7 September 2014. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  10. ^ Donnelly, Joe (2017-01-09). "Sims Online fan-made remake crashes at launch due to huge flood of players, plans closed beta". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2023-04-16.

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