SimguruDrake invited everyone that was at Gamescom on Thursday August 18th to 2 panels about The Sims 4.
The first panel was the Sims Team & Influencers panel, hosted by SimGuruDrake and Chris Mancil (Director of Community & Influencers at EA) and I will talk about that panel here.
The second panel was hosted by SimGuruRachel and SimGuruLyndsay and looked at “How We Make The Game”, which you can read all about in this separate post!
Although we got invited to these panels, opinions shown in this article are our own.
I arrived at the EA business lounge at Gamescom well before the panel, which started at 1pm. Luckily I wasn’t the only one, so I got a chance to catch up with other Sims players like The EnglishSimmer, Sims_Online, The Sim Supply and others.
At 1pm we could all enter the presentation room and find a seat.
The influencer panel was split up in two halfs. The first half was a talk by Chris Mancil, the director of community and influencers at EA, the second half was picked up by SimGuruDrake, the global and North American community manager of The Sims.
Super fans and paid fans
Chris Mancil told us a little bit about general practices with influencers across EA with different games, and regulations that may apply.
In 2007 EA started a Game changers program, which is a community of game fans to help improve a game or act as a representative of the community.
It started out with just a few players but has grown over the years to 1000’s of players.
Game changers is an unpaid program and can be considered as ‘super fans’.
Another program by EA is Ronku and is an exclusive program devoted to connecting top YouTube gamers directly with the people that make the games they love to play.
This a paid program where the gamers get paid to, for example, highlight a certain aspect of the game.
There is a fine line between ‘super fans’ and paid fans, though The Sims does not take part in either of these programs (yet)
Federal Trade Commision
Chris also elaborated a bit more on regulations, and in particular Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC basically makes sure that consumers are well informed about benefits a company might have from certain advertising. For example, we got invited to this panel, received free goodies and some were even flew in from abroad, this could be seen as buying votes. To make sure you, are reader, is informed we might have received stuff from EA, we should add a diclaimer saying: Hey! We got free goodies from EA, but our opinion is our own (as I did in the first paragraph).
Now, these regulations are not laws or set rules, since it is still a work in progress. But EA is actively working to make sure their influencers are aware of these regulations, but they are not (yet) mandatory.
The Sims influencers
At this point, SimGuruDrake took over and went into more depths of what the plans are for The Sims and how to communicate with the community.
- Who are influencers?
Who exactly are influencers? Well, there are a lot of different types of influencers. The most noticeable ones are YouTubers, producing let’s play, and/or (speed) builds. Then you have fansites, like ourselves, who aim to keep you up to date with the latest news. Storytellers blogs, builders and creators on the gallery showcase what’s possible in the game. There’s also influencers who might not be known for any of the above, but simply for their presence and voice on the forums and social media. A good example of this would be Cinderellimouse, although she creates amazing stories with her Sims on her blog, many know her from Twitter and the forums. All these people and groups are different ways of communicating with the community.
- Live streams
The Sims has had livestreams in the past when, for example, a new expansion pack was released. SimGuruDrake told us they plan to continue to do this and we can expect a livestream every Friday before release.
WeeAlbet asked if they had any plans for other livestreams, like let’s plays of certain team members. How does SimGuruHouts build in The Sims 4? How does SimGuruRachel torture her Sims etc.
This is certainly something they want to look into, but is also hard because a livestream does take up time of a team member that they can’t spend on making the game. This means it should be scheduled very carefully.
- Simmers Spotlight
Simmers Spotlight is planned to make a return, and with a wider variety of players than it has been in the past. There has been quite some chatter about only YouTubers being featured on the ‘Simmers to check out’ on Twitter and in the blogs, this is planned to change. We are likely to see a mix of Simmer Spotlights of influencers that were named above
There was also a question about Surveys and how they pick people for that. SimGuruLyndsay answered this questions and the surveys are send out to random people, there is a data base of e-mail addresses, somewhere, and that’s where the people are picked from. This is done by a different team, The Sims team has no say in it.