Now that The Sims Social has reached maturity on Facebook, EA Playfish can move on to the next game in its release schedule — Risk: Factions. The developer is also still finding its footing in mobile and planning for a Sims Social expansion in the near future.
Risk: Factions was originally planned for a fall release, but it was delayed while EA Playfish experimented with adding new features. Akiko Abe, public relations manager, tells us that the game could be held back until after the Christmas holiday if EA believes that fewer people will be playing social games during the break. The game differs from EA Playfish’s previous board game adaptation, Monopoly Millionaires, in that it’s an adaptation of an Xbox Live/PlayStation Network/Steam download property. This means that Risk: Factions’ design will likely come down somewhere between the menu-driven interface of Monopoly Millionaires and the vibrant animation of The Sims Social. Depending on how the actual board game itself is translated into the gameplay, the potential audience for Risk: Factions could be more niche than the broad spread of players attracted to The Sims Social.
Meanwhile on mobile, EA Playfish had a hit and miss experience in bringing two of its established Facebook brands to iOS this year. The hit was Restaurant City, where the one-to-one translation of restaurant management adapted well to the mobile interface in Restaurant City: Gourmet Edition. The game is currently one of EA’s top 10 most popular iOS apps across all 100 of its games, and it ranks at No.168 in the App Store’s Top Free Apps. The miss is Pet Society: Vacation, which will shut down in December due to a lack of players. As Abe says and the farewell post alludes to, the Pet Society audience on Facebook just didn’t carry over to iOS in this case. Even so, Abe tells us that EA Playfish will continue to find its footing in mobile.
Lastly, EA Playfish is mindful of extending the life of The Sims Social on Facebook through expansions. Far from holiday content updates or light gameplay tweaks available through new purchasable items, EA Playfish is aware that Sims fans are expecting almost completely new gameplay additions on the order of those we see in the PC franchise — pets, romance, new locations, etc. Abe tells us the developer isn’t ready to talk specifics yet but that we can expect to see Sims Social getting its first expansion “very soon.”