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EA confirms The Sims 5 as free-to-play with mix of free updates and paid DLC

Confirming previous speculation
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EA has confirmed that The Sims 5, which is currently being developed by Maxis under the name Project Rene, will be a free-to-play game. “Project Rene will be Free to Download. This means that when Project Rene is ready and fully open to players, you will be able to join, play and explore it without a subscription, core game purchase or energy mechanics,” a blog post stated.

Fans were already pretty sure about this being the case anyway, since The Sims 4 seems to be doing very well as a free-to-play title and a job posting for Project Rene hinted at this model, too. Still, it’s nice to have official confirmation.

The Sims 4 artwork with several Sims in front of blue shapes.

The Sims 4 and 5 will coexist after the latter's launch, EA confirmed.

According to the development update shared by EA, Rene and The Sims 4 will coexist with both games receiving continued support. EA admitted that Project Rene won’t be a match for The Sims 4 in terms of content, when it finally launches, writing: “While it won’t begin with everything you have in The Sims 4, we plan to add new experiences and content to Project Rene over time.”

This will happen through a mixture of free updates and paid content packs, so something not too dissimilar from what’s going on with The Sims 4 or your regular Paradox Interactive strategy title. Giving an example, EA explained that something like weather mechanics may be added for free, after which a paid content package would be released that makes use of these mechanics, such as a pack that “may be focused on winter sports with activities like ice dancing or a snowman building competition.”

EA emphasized that it’s “still in the early stages of development for Project Rene,” but teased that The Sims 5 may become accessible to players sooner rather than later: “We want to include Simmers throughout the various phases of development, which could include everything from closed invites to small public playtests or early access options.”

It seems like The Sims 5 won’t be a 1:1 successor for The Sims 4 following the exact formula: “Project Rene will be a new way to play The Sims – it will feel ‘Simsy’ as players will still manage what their Sims do throughout their day, while also presenting gameplay choices differently. With Project Rene, we want to do things from the start that The Sims hasn’t ever done or try to do familiar things in a new way!”

Whatever that may come to mean in the end, you’ll be able to try it out for free.