The Sims FreePlay Brings In Multiplayer AR

The Sims is incredibly popular in all its various forms. Evolving from the iconic SimCity franchise, it has sold over 200 million copies worldwide. The Sims FreePlay is the free-to-play smartphone iteration of the franchise, which has just launched a new content update which includes some new augmented reality (AR) features.

The new update includes a range of Autumn-themed content, including new plants, seasonal clothing, an outdoor kitchen and the return of previous Halloween seasonal content. Also included is an AR-based cooperative build mode.

The new cooperative build mode lets players work together to build virtual dream homes as if they were located in the real world. The new feature uses the Apple ARKit 2 platform, which lets players select a flat surface in the real world, and then begin to build a house from the ground up, using a huge range of virtual objects, such as different types of furniture or different decorations for the virtual house.

Players can invite fellow players to work with them on building virtual houses in real-time. There is even a ‘Sims Tracker’ that can call the player’s Sims family to the AR building, and then players can watch them interact with the AR objects, similarly to the standard videogame mode.

“We thought it was a really cool idea, and as we continued working on the feature, we thought, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we could build together?,’” said Chris Brousseau, Senior Product Manager for The Sims FreePlay, during an interview: “I saw people’s eyes light up, so, we said “Yeah, let’s do it!”, and we got to work whipping up a prototype. Once we got multiplayer build mode in the game and we started editing and adding things to the same house within AR, we thought it was the coolest thing.”

The Sims FreePlay ‘Brilliant Backyards’ update is available now on the Apple App Store. A full list of changes can be found on the EA website. For future coverage on AR content, keep checking back with VRFocus.