March's sweeping shelter-in-place order triggered a spike in video game downloads and purchases. From Animal Crossing to Fortnite, we gave ourselves makeovers, got married, graduated, and forged all kinds of connections in video games this past spring. To no surprise, The Sims' perfect blend of nostalgia and world-building offered a dual dose of escapism amid a horribly-handled pandemic. So many players returning to The Sims these past few months will be pleased to know that a Sims reality TV show is airing later this month.
Electronic Arts, The Sim's publisher, is partnering with e-sports brand Eleague and Buzzfeed Multiplayer to bring to you a four-episode competition reality television show called The Sims - Spark’d. Twelve players will build worlds, characters, and tell stories on The Sims 4 in the hopes of winning the $100,000 prize.
The show will premiere at 11 p.m. (EST) on Friday, July 17 on TBS and will air every Friday at the same time. The episodes will also air at 8 a.m. on Mondays on Buzzfeed Miltiplayer’s YouTube channel.
The trailer's comment section, however, shows lackluster enthusiasm for the new show. Among the key complaints is the fact that players have been asking EA for more affordable expansion packs and fewer bugs. It seems like loyal Sims players want that loyalty reciprocated in the game, not in the form of a reality TV show.
But content like this is without an audience. Artists and creatives, like UK-based drag artist Juno Birch, found a keen audience for videos of them using The Sims to create their own fantasy version of Celebrity Big Brother and other reality TV shows. So there is indeed an appetite for reality TV and Sims crossover content.