EA Turns The Sims Online Into Free EA-Land, Second Life Competitor

EA is relaunching The Sims Online as a free service with a new name and new features, including UGC, commerce and land ownership.

EA-Land is the new, free Sims Online (TSO). The 12 different cities from TSO are being moved to EA-Land and the game area is being expanded to be “100 times bigger than the previous size of any city.” Existing TSO users will be able to purchase land in EA-Land before the new (reincarnated) world is open to the public with paying TSO users becoming “EA-Land subscribers” in a similar fashion to the way Linden Lab charges for land in Second Life.

Users of EA-Land will have the ability to upload custom content and (more importantly) buy these customizations from other players. Sounding a lot like Second Life? It gets better:

We heard from the community that the economy was broken in TSO. That was true, too many users were billionaires, and the goal of the game was mostly about extracting money from Maxis. I can now say with satisfaction that we have fixed the economy on EA-Land. This took many features, from establishing a real estate market, where users can easily buy or sell lots to one another, and a dynamic object pricing market where the prices of objects purchased from maxis is based on supply and demand, enabling stores and entrepreneurs to earn a living. We also enabled users to buy simoleans directly from Maxis. While there is no need for users to do so in the game (we give subscribers simoleans every week), it can help new users build their dream house faster with a simple paypal transaction secured by us.

There is one significant difference though to Second Life: EA-Land won’t become the wild west as EA will be “approving all of the content [so] this user content is safe to be viewed by everyone.”

Second Life fans will point out that TSO/ EA-Land has a lot of difference to Second Life in terms of capabilities, and that is true. And yet really basic 2D service such as Club Penguin and Habbo Hotel have millions of users compared to Second Life’s 100-200,000 regular users over a 60 day period. As much as I hate the name, free is a great selling point and EA-Land has the potential of catering to users who want something more from their online words than the basic services, without the hassles of Second Life.

(in part via GigaOm)

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