Skip to content

How much was The Sims 4 before it was free?

On October 18th, 2022, EA and Maxis rocked the gaming world by announcing The Sims 4 base game would become 100% free to download on PC, Mac, PlayStation 4/5, and Xbox One/Series X/S. For the past 8 years, new players had to purchase The Sims 4 in order to start building their virtual families, designing dream homes, and climbing their Sims‘ career ladders.

But now, anyone can get the core Sims 4 experience without paying a dime. So before the game went completely free, how much were loyal fans spending on The Sims 4 and its seemingly endless parade of expansion packs, game packs, and stuff packs? Let‘s take a nostalgic trip back through pricing history!

The Sims 4 Started at $59.99 in 2014

When The Sims 4 first launched on September 2, 2014, the standard edition retailed for $59.99 on Windows and Mac. The Digital Deluxe Edition, which included bonus content like the Up All Night digital soundtrack, Flaming Tiki Bar, and more, sold for $69.99.

PlayStation and Xbox fans had to wait 3 more years before The Sims 4 arrived on PS4 and Xbox One on November 17, 2017. The standard console version still launched at $39.99 while the Digital Deluxe console release was priced at $49.99.

So if you jumped into The Sims 4 right away in 2014, you paid $60 to $70 just for the base game, depending on which platform and edition you chose. And for most of us Sims addicts, the fun was only just beginning!

Expansions Cost $40 Each, And There Were 11 of Them!

One of the hallmarks of The Sims franchise has always been the constant stream of expansion packs that introduce major new features and gameplay options. We‘re talking pets, seasons, universities, magic, celebrities, tropical vacations – expansions take The Sims 4 to the next level.

These large-scale expansions launched at $39.99 on PC/Mac. Console players eventually got them too, usually a year or more later, also at $39.99 each. Over the past 8 years, The Sims 4 has seen a staggering 11 expansions:

  • The Sims 4 Get to Work (March 2015)
  • The Sims 4 Get Together (December 2015)
  • The Sims 4 City Living (November 2016)
  • The Sims 4 Cats & Dogs (November 2017)
  • The Sims 4 Seasons (June 2018)
  • The Sims 4 Get Famous (November 2018)
  • The Sims 4 Island Living (July 2019)
  • The Sims 4 Discover University (November 2019)
  • The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle (June 2020)
  • The Sims 4 Snowy Escape (November 2020)
  • The Sims 4 Cottage Living (July 2021)

If you‘re a hardcore completionist and bought every single expansion at full price, that would set you back a whopping $439.89 extra beyond the base game!

18 Game Packs and 16 Stuff Packs Cost $19.99 Each

In addition to the major expansions, EA and Maxis pumped out a steady stream of smaller DLC packs including both game packs and stuff packs. Game packs center around a theme with unique gameplay, like Vampires or StrangerVille. Meanwhile, stuff packs offer tons of new objects, outfits, and décor options.

These tiny DLC packs launched at $19.99 apiece on all platforms. While cheaper than expansions individually, collectively they added up over the years! There have been 18 game packs and 16 stuff packs released:

Game Packs:

  • The Sims 4 Outdoor Retreat (January 2015)
  • The Sims 4 Spa Day (July 2015)
  • The Sims 4 Dine Out (June 2016)
  • The Sims 4 Vampires (January 2017)
  • The Sims 4 Parenthood (May 2017)
  • The Sims 4 Jungle Adventure (February 2018)
  • The Sims 4 StrangerVille (February 2019)
  • The Sims 4 Realm of Magic (September 2019)
  • The Sims 4 Discover University (November 2019)
  • The Sims 4 Eco Lifestyle (June 2020)
  • The Sims 4 Star Wars: Journey to Batuu (September 2020)
  • The Sims 4 Snowy Escape (November 2020)
  • The Sims 4 Dream Home Decorator (June 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Cottage Living (July 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Werewolves (June 2022)
  • The Sims 4 High School Years (July 2022)
  • The Sims 4 My Wedding Stories (February 2022)

Stuff Packs:

  • The Sims 4 Luxury Party Stuff (May 2015)
  • The Sims 4 Perfect Patio Stuff (June 2015)
  • The Sims 4 Cool Kitchen Stuff (August 2015)
  • The Sims 4 Spooky Stuff (September 2015)
  • The Sims 4 Movie Hangout Stuff (January 2016)
  • The Sims 4 Romantic Garden Stuff (February 2016)
  • The Sims 4 Kids Room Stuff (April 2016)
  • The Sims 4 Backyard Stuff (May 2016)
  • The Sims 4 Vintage Glamour Stuff (December 2016)
  • The Sims 4 Bowling Night Stuff (January 2017)
  • The Sims 4 Fitness Stuff (June 2017)
  • The Sims 4 Toddler Stuff (August 2017)
  • The Sims 4 Laundry Day Stuff (February 2018)
  • The Sims 4 My First Pet Stuff (March 2018)
  • The Sims 4 Moschino Stuff (August 2019)
  • The Sims 4 Tiny Living Stuff (January 2020)
  • The Sims 4 Nifty Knitting Stuff (July 2020)
  • The Sims 4 Paranormal Stuff (January 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Courtyard Oasis Kit (April 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Cottage Living (July 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Bust the Dust Kit (September 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Blooming Rooms Kit (October 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Carnival Kit (November 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Incheon Arrivals Kit (December 2021)
  • The Sims 4 Fashion Street Kit (January 2022)
  • The Sims 4 My Wedding Stories (February 2022)

Buying every single game and stuff pack at full price would mean shelling out $719.82 extra beyond the base game and expansions!

Savvy Shoppers Saved with Bundles

EA tried to sweeten the pot occasionally by offering bundles that combined multiple content packs at a discount. Instead of buying pieces individually at full price, you could save 25-50% with the right bundle!

Some of the bundle deals over the years included:

  • The Sims 4 Plus Cats & Dogs Bundle – Base game + Cats & Dogs Expansion: $49.99 (usually $99.98)
  • The Sims 4 City Living, Vampires, Vintage Glamour Bundle: $49.99 (usually $79.97)
  • The Sims 4 Get Famous & Parenthood Bundle: $49.99 (usually $39.98)
  • The Sims 4 Tiny Living & Laundry Day Stuff Bundle: $24.99 (usually $39.98)

The key was picking a bundle with DLCs you were actually interested in, rather than just buying to save money overall.

Sales and Discounts Maximized Savings for Savvy Shoppers

In addition to bundles, EA discounted The Sims 4 content fairly regularly – especially around peak sales times like the holidays. Keep an eye out for these hot deals:

  • Expansion packs would drop from $39.99 to $19.99 or $29.99
  • Game and stuff packs went on sale for $9.99 instead of the full $19.99
  • Keep an eye out for major sales around Black Friday, Christmas, the Steam Summer Sale, and the annual Sims birthday in February!

By snagging expansions and stuff packs on sale and bundling up when possible, thrifty Sims shoppers could save 50% or more on their addiction hobby!

So What Was the Total Damage for Superfans?

If we total up the maximum possible spending for dedicated Sims 4 players who purchased absolutely everything at full price over the years, it looks something like this:

  • Base Game: $59.99
  • All 11 Expansions: $439.89
  • All 18 Game Packs: $359.82
  • All 16 Stuff Packs: $319.84

Grand Total: $1179.54

Of course, not every fan picked up everything right at launch and paid full sticker price. But it‘s reasonable to estimate that devoted players likely spent $400 to $800 or more over time amassing all the content for The Sims 4 before it went free-to-play.

As a comparison, let‘s look at the maximum cost of The Sims 3 for all expansions, stuff packs, and store content back in its heyday:

  • Base Game: $49.99
  • All 11 Expansions: $349.89
  • All 9 Stuff Packs: $179.91
  • All Sims 3 Store Content: $1,312.41

Total: $1,892.20

So while The Sims 3 offered more depth overall, The Sims 4 with all DLCs cost about $712 less for completionists buying everything at full price! Still a hefty sum however you slice it.

What Do Loyal Existing Owners Get?

Since loyal fans had already paid anywhere from $60 to $800+ supporting The Sims 4 over the past 8 years, what freebies does EA offer now that new players can download the base game 100% free?

So far, existing owners get:

  • The Desert Luxe Kit – Normally $4.99, this kit with desert-inspired furniture is free for current players.

  • The Sims 4 Palms Plumeria Sign Decor Object – Another free decorative object themed around the lush Palm Plumeria plant.

  • The Sims 4 Wood Wall Pattern – This wood-patterned wallpaper comes free from the Desert Luxe Kit.

  • Upgraded EA Play Benefits – EA Play and EA Play Pro subscribers get early expansions access, all DLCs unlocked, and monthly Depository freebies.

These free gifts are small tokens of appreciation for loyal customers. However, some existing owners were hoping for something more valuable like an exclusive free expansion or game pack.

But EA wants to use the free base game to draw in new players rather than over-rewarding existing ones. So big freebies seem unlikely, though we may see a few more minor items like objects and patterns handed out.

The Road Ahead: More DLCs, and Eventually The Sims 5

While The Sims 4 base game is now free, EA made it clear that new expansion packs, game packs, and stuff packs will continue releasing regularly for years to come. So existing players can keep expanding their Sims 4 universe, likely spending hundreds more even without buying the base game.

At some point in the future, EA will finally launch the highly anticipated next generation – The Sims 5. But the EA team estimates that is still "a few years out" at minimum.

Making The Sims 4 free now is part strategic play to revitalize the player base, setting the stage for future DLC revenue and the eventual Sims 5 release.

Will The Sims 5 follow the same path by starting paid, then going free to play years later? Or will EA make the next base game a paid premium experience once again? We‘ll have to wait and see!

One thing seems certain: The Sims remains a massive money-maker for EA, so they‘ll continue their successful formula of paid expansions, game packs, and stuff packs into the foreseeable future.

The Bottom Line

While the exact spending varied dramatically based on bundles, discounts, and each player‘s content choices, most dedicated Sims 4 fans likely spent $200 to $800 on the base game and DLC packs prior to the free update.

Some Whales poured over $1,000 into pursuing every single piece of content for the complete Sims 4 experience over the past 8 years since launch.

Making the base game free removes the initial $40 to $60 buy-in barrier for new players to hop into The Sims 4 world. But it seems likely dedicated fans will keep investing heavily in the steady stream of new DLCs for years to come.

The Sims franchise remains a crown jewel for EA, so this free base game shift aims to revitalize the player base and set the stage for maximum revenue from both new and existing gamers via future expansions, game packs, and stuff packs until the eventual Sims 5 releases and beyond.

For long-time fans who already paid their dues supporting The Sims 4 year after year, the free base game move may seem sudden. But looking ahead, it is likely a strategic play to further monetize both new and existing audiences for many years ahead.

The Sims train keeps on rolling, full speed into the future! This historic base game shift opens the doors for even more gamers to hop on board and keep enjoying new Sims 4 content drops and eventually the next generation Sims 5 experience yet to come.



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.