Image via EA

It costs over $1200 to purchase all The Sims 4 DLC – that seems high!

That's a lot of Simoleons.

It’s no secret that The Sims 4 has a lot of expansion packs. Like, a lot of expansion packs. Ever since the first game began releasing DLC like Hot Date, Unleashed, and more back in the early 2000s, expansion packs have been a staple of the series. They’re unavoidable.

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While the original game only had seven expansions to get, each entry in the series has gotten more and more of them. With the fourth iteration of the franchise out for over a decade now, EA has had plenty of time to release full-priced expansions, with the newest one, Lovestruck, on its way. Even if you aren’t planning to add Lovestruck to your collection, the total price to get every single Sims expansion is now up to over $1,200.

Luckily, many of these expansions are often on sale, but for loyal players who bought each one at retail, that’s a whole lot of money.

Regardless of where you stand on DLC, this is a ridiculous price. Not only do you pay hundreds of dollars for these expansions, but whether they even work is another issue in and of itself.

The problem with Sims 4 expansions

When new content gets released for a game, it’s inevitable that there will be some bugs and glitches. However, The Sims 4 has had some releases that quite literally take the cake. One of the more recent controversies came from My Wedding Stories, which was broken on release. 

Tons of major gameplay functions didn’t work, like Sims not following commands from the player such as sitting down during the ceremony. Sims would show up in the wrong outfits despite the pack allowing you to choose the dress code. The game would often crash in the middle of the wedding.

My Wedding Stories is far from the only expansion with this problem. To this day, some packs like Dine Out are still remarkably buggy, down to being nearly unplayable. A small glitch or two is to be expected, but when you pay good money for something, you expect it to work. 

Image via EA

Another issue that’s come up has been players accusing EA of breaking up content into smaller packs for the sake of getting more money. Take My First Pet Stuff, which is an expansion for an expansion. To get access to all the items in the stuff pack, you need to have already purchased Cats & Dogs. Why weren’t these items just included in Cats & Dogs in the first place? It seems the only explanation is to drive up the cost.

One could argue that you don’t need to purchase any additional content to have a good time, but how true is that?

Can you even play The Sims 4 without expansions?

If you simply get the base game and nothing else, the problem is solved, right? But without the multitude of DLC, the base version of The Sims 4 is pretty bland. Many of the most exciting pursuits your Sims can get up to require at least one of the expansion packs, and that’s not to mention the smaller DLC, like game packs, stuff packs, and kits. 

Without Get To Work, you can’t follow your Sims to any career. Without Cats & Dogs or Cottage Living, you can’t raise any pets. Your Sims are left to live out their lives disappearing into rabbit holes and hanging out on three or four vanilla community lots like parts or gyms until the Grim Reaper comes knocking. It wasn’t even until many years after release that basic features like pools and toddlers were added to the base game. 

This doesn’t even mention the sheer lack of options when it comes to CAS and Build and Buy mode. You’re severely limited in hair, clothes, makeup, and furniture without forking over money to EA. These items include hairstyles for POC and cultural clothing, which has led to EA being accused of essentially locking other cultures behind paywalls.

Image via EA

Is there any hope for The Sims 4?

As much criticism as the game has received for the endless expansion packs, it’s unlikely that we’ll see EA slow down with them anytime soon. When the base game was made free-to-play, it caused a huge influx of 16 million new players coming with fresh eyes to the series. While the hardcore community may be fed up with the state of DLC, it’s only in certain circles. It hasn’t stopped the game from being popular.

According to SteamDB, the game has continued to keep a solid player peak of around 40,000 for months now. It remains one of the top sellers in the Steam Store, staying on the top 100 sellers list for over 200 weeks as of July 2024.

This is good news for EA, as they can seemingly continue to release endless expansions and get their bag. A company can’t really ask for more. So, the Sims community can look forward to the game’s total cost only going up higher. Project Renee, the codename for the next installment in the Sims series, will likely follow this pattern, so life simulator fans should get their wallets ready. At least we still have mods.

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Annie Thelen
Destructoid Contributor - Annie has been a fan of video games ever since beating every one of her cousins at Super Mario Kart in her grandparent's basement. She's been writing about them for over a year now, and continues to love them more everyday. Besides Mario Kart, her favorites are Legend of Zelda, Halo, Persona, Saints Row, The Sims, and plenty more.