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The Sims to go online again?

EA admits multiplayer is an option.

In an interview with the Times Online, Nancy Smith, head of EA's Sims Division, has admitted that the monster PC franchise could become a multiplayer game... again.

Both interviewee and interviewer were careful not to mention that it already had done just that, in The Sims Online, the all-too-ahead-of-its-time virtual world that has been the only conspicuous failure in Sims history.

EA recently shut down The Sims Online for the last time, after an abortive attempt to rebrand it as EA-Land.

It seems that EA is still ready to entertain the idea of The Sims as a connected social game, but Smith only cautiously dipped her toe in these waters.

She told the Times Online that EA "would continue to invest in more and more robust community features" for the Sims. She said that an online element to The Sims "could be of interest", EA "would definitely think about it", and "we're constantly exploring new kinds of content and experiences".

Smith maintained that The Sims would continue to be sold traditionally, as a boxed game, although EA would explore micropayments as a new revenue stream. Apparently, you will soon be able to buy Ikea furniture and H&M clothing for your virtual pet people.

So, inconclusive. But The Sims, being a community-focused game, has always made sense as an online title, and with original creator Will Wright exploring the "massively single-player" idea with his new title Spore, it's not surprising that EA is considering a second bite of that cherry.