On July 21, EA released an update to The Sims 4’s policy regarding modding and content creation. While the post stated that EA understands that mods are an “important part” of the player experience and outlined how players can re-enable mods after they are automatically disabled following The Sims 4’s most recent update, it also established a new set of rules for content creators. and modders, and not everyone is happy with them.
Under new EA guidelines, creators of The Sims 4 custom content can no longer promote mods “in a manner that suggests they are endorsed by or affiliated with The Sims, Maxis, or Electronic Arts.” As such, creators are prohibited from using “any in-game logos or trademarks, including versions of the plummet or key art designs” to promote their creations.
While this might be inconvenient for modders, the second set of terms is proving much more controversial. According to the post, all content created by modders must now be distributed to the public for free. Mods can no longer be “sold, licensed, or rented for a fee”, nor can they contain features that support “monetary transactions of any kind”. EA added that creators are free to “recover their development costs” by running ads on their websites to generate revenue and donations, as long as the game content they create is not behind a paywall.
Shortly after the announcement was made, content creators began to speculate whether this would affect the community’s popular Early Access payment model, in which creators offer mods and custom content on sites like Patreon for paying subscribers during a certain period of time before opening them. for public access. Earlier today, Twitter user MarlynSims96 shared a conversation she had with an EA support staff member indicating this was the case.
While EA hasn’t added any clause explicitly stating that the early access model is prohibited, this tweet, coupled with the new “non-commercial” requirement, means that it likely is. While some members of the community celebrate the decision, which will essentially make all modified content free for all players, others are concerned about the new policies.
“EA is now targeting early access pricing when it wasn’t an issue before,” popular The Sims 4 architect and EA creator KawaiiFoxita told GameSpot. “Using early access as a way to secure some funding for the work these creators are doing, to me, is a much nicer approach and I fully support paying creators for the benefit of early access to their creations. This It’s something I don’t think EA should take away from. People deserve some kind of compensation for the work and time they put in, so early access is a good way to do that.”
For some, that compensation has proven vital to their everyday lives. In their Patreon post about the policy changes, creator JellyPaws wrote that Patreon’s funding is part of what allowed them to pay for rent, medicine, and other necessities.
“Early access to Patreon is one of the only reasons I can afford my own meds, food, pet care, and apartment so I can live on top of my disabled dad to take care of him,” wrote JellyPaws. “It’s really upsetting to see early access removed, but I hope everyone can continue to support my work, even without the benefit of early access.”
JellyPaws is one of multiple Sims 4 modders that used Patreon and an early access model as a means of income, but is now removing the benefit as a result of new EA policies. Another modder, ChewyButterfly, has found himself in the same situation.
“Patreon has been helping me buy as few groceries as possible over the past few months when my jobs kept failing,” ChewyButterfly wrote on Patreon. “I really hope EA releases another statement clarifying early access as they didn’t state specifically that was not allowed. But until then, no more Early Access.”
The Sims 4 community on Reddit has largely praised creators like JellyPaws and ChewyButterfly who have chosen to adapt to EA’s new regulations, even if there is frustration with those who “abused” the paywall protocol, putting creators on hold. in this situation.
If various mod creators didn’t abuse, making permanent paywall, putting virus trackers/malwares in mod/cc, harassing, leaking personal information… If they didn’t do that, this wouldn’t happen…
—Ginie62 (@Ginie62) August 1, 2022
However, there are quite a few creators who choose to stick to current business practices. Felixandre, one of The Sims 4’s most popular content creators, did not mention the policy changes on his Twitter or Patreon. Right now, Felixandre has a whopping 4,433 patrons, each contributing at least $5 a month to the creator. Similarly, AggressiveKitty (which has 649 users paying at least $6 a month), HeyHarrie (4,293 users paying at least $2 a month), and Sixam CC made no mention of stopping. MaxisMatchCCWorld and ADeepIndigo shared their thoughts on EA’s new policy on their Patreon, but have stated that they will continue as usual until it is clear that the early access model is banned. Lastly, both CowPlant and PixelVibeSims have been criticized on Reddit for finding “loopholes” in EA’s terms. Both creators have stated that they are severing any connection to The Sims 4 franchise and that the 3D models they build are their property.
Ultimately, this topic is divisive, as members of The Sims 4 community find themselves in various places on a wide spectrum of thoughts on the matter.
“As someone who primarily builds on custom content, I can understand why people are unhappy with paywalls.” Said KawaiiFoxita. “This didn’t really bother me at first because I had the mindset that these people who create these wonderful meshes and assets deserved to be paid for the time and effort they put in. They are artists at the end of the day and I support the work of the artists where I can. That said, I also understand how that can be for those who can’t pay and also for those who believe these people were in breach of the terms of service.”
However, KawaiiFoxita also brought up another good point. The Sims 4 community has largely credited the modders for being some of the first to respond when there are bugs in the game, and they’ve also attracted a larger number of players to the franchise through their largely free additions. .
“A lot of people who use mods and CC feel like the game wouldn’t be playable in its current state without them. So with the removal of an income for a lot of modders, this can mean they don’t create anymore, and if you don’t create more, you run the risk of losing a large part of your player base,” said KawaiiFoxita. “EA should really take note of what’s happening within the modding and custom content communities and consider hiring these creators to help implement these features/assets within the game itself, so they can be implemented across more PC players.” and these people can be rewarded for everything they do.”
TO UPDATE: In an email to GameSpot, EA has confirmed that The Sims 4 modders can continue to use early access periods.
“The Sims team just updated The Sims 4 Mods FAQ to clarify that all users should be able to access mods in their entirety for free,” an EA representative told GameSpot. “However, creators can still run a reasonable period of early access for their content.
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