On Thursday, July 21, EA published a post regarding some policy changes concerning mods and custom content in The Sims 4.
In the post, EA acknowledges how mods are an important part of the gameplay experience for most of The Sims 4 community, and it supports this. It also explained to readers how to go about reenabling their mods after they were automatically disabled following the most recent update to the game.
However, EA has also laid down some new rules for the creators of custom content in The Sims 4, and understandably, the policy changes have led to panic and concern amongst players and creators.
The policy changes detail that creators must not promote their mods “in a way that suggests they are endorsed by or affiliated with The Sims, Maxis, or Electronic Arts.” Creators cannot use any of the games branding in their content when promoting mods, but they can state that the mod is obviously for The Sims 4, or a relevant expansion pack.
The next update to policy, and the one which is leaving a lot of creators concerned, is that “mods must be non-commercial and distributed free-of-charge.” EA continue to clarify by stating that mods cannot be sold, licenses, or rented, nor can they contain features “that support monetary transactions of any type.” That said, mod developers can “recoup their development costs via passive advertisements and donations.”
When it comes to passive advertisements and donations, these must be limited to the mod distribution website, and cannot be featured within the mod itself. Additionally, every user must be able to access the mods free of charge, regardless of whether they donate or not.
The update to policy also means that the Early Access mods will not be allowed or supported. Early Access mods typically meant that users could donate to a creator’s Patreon to access various mods before they became open to the public. As a result of EA’s update, mods for The Sims 4 must be free from the very beginning, and the Early Access pay model must be scrapped.
This might seem like good news at first glance. All mods are free, which means you can download custom content to your hearts content, and that’s great. However, these changes to policy are actually far from good for the creators of The Sims 4 custom content, who have arguably made the game what it is today. While mods not being locked behind permanent paywalls is certainly a good thing, not allowing creators to use Early Access is going to put many who earn an income from The Sims 4 custom content at a detriment.
Permanent pay walls have been a persistent frustration for a while now, with some creators locking content behind paid tiers indefinitely. While this should hopefully be addressed given EA’s new policy, it’s sad to see that one of the most popular avenues for earning money for your time and efforts as a The Sims 4 creator might not be possible anymore.
The update to policy has certainly divided the community, and we can only hope that EA listens to its users and finds a way to support its content creators.