Inviting players to live the social media influencer life has definitely become a recent video game bandwagon. And The Sims is jumping on board.
It’s often easy to forget that “Sims” is short for “simulation,” but that’s just what the increasingly complex game has attempted to do since its first release in 2000. Of course, in those early days of the internet, social media hadn’t developed into the sometimes terrifying, privacy-stealing behemoth it is now. But in the upcoming Sims 4: Get Famous expansion, the developers at EA’s Maxis studio are ready to simulate society's contemporary obsession with becoming an influencer.
It seems only natural that video games would tap into this new vein of generational aspiration. The rise of YouTube has buoyed a rise of influencers that has instilled a new sense of success and achievement in those who grew up watching PewDiePie and Markiplier do what they love as a job and make millions. In this gaming trend, being an influencer who creates wealth out of amassing followers has become a shorthand for yesteryear’s rewards. Instead of gaining points in power, money or prestige through force, deception or justice, players gain points in a fictional follower count. The math and the serotonin kick is still the same.
Gaming, on many levels, is an escapist medium. It often taps into a player's own fantasies of what they might want their lives to be and grants them some version of a different, possibly better, life. It's no wonder game development is tapping into the modern rash of entrepreneurial influencers.