In a development that can be seen as either a bit worrying or very funny, EA has given up all pretense of getting an even spread of release day reviews for The Sims 4 and is attempting to game the system entirely. We’d previously noted the assertion from IGN’s Dan Stapleton that EA would not be sending pre-release review copies of the game to reviewers. To date, we’ve not had one either.
It turns out that certain Sims 4-dedicated sites have been able to play the game prior to release, outside of dedicated preview events. The comments on this article from SimsVIP reveals the site has “had a playable version for a limited time.” Somebody took this information to the official EA forums, where the thread was subsequently deleted. Which is quite an interesting course of action.
Here’s a screenshot from the comments in case that goes missing too.
To be absolutely clear, there’s nothing at all wrong with SimsVIP getting a pre-release copy of the game. As they’re a dedicated Sims site, that’s absolutely appropriate, and by the sounds of things this was a sort of “timed” build which no longer functions (hence the use of past tense.)
What’s not especially appropriate is EA being so selective with who it deems worthy of playing the title for extended lengths of time prior to the day of release. Ideally, with any game, you want to read a spread of reviews and information on or around release day; from those who are familiar with the series, those who adore it and those who may be playing The Sims 4 as their first one.
To only receive opinions from Sims devotees is just as pointless as it would be to only hear from a minority of professional games sites, and it’s difficult to view this as anything other than EA attempting to cherry-pick release day coverage for a game whose quality they’re increasingly concerned about.
In circumstances where publishers are confident about their game, they have no qualms about distributing pre-release builds to all and sundry.