I always thought that playing the Sims online with other people would be fun, but didn’t want to pay a monthly fee for something I could play offline for free (after paying for the PC game). Now that EA has launched a free version of The Sims Online, I wanted to give it a try. My first impression is that it’s just a chat room with a bunch of actions and gestures your Sim can perform. It seems that you can’t enter certain types of lots with the free service, but you can go to a job and make simoleans. I think only paid subscriptions can own land/lots, and therefore sell items and provide free services (such as exercise machines and food). By going to lots you can build your skills up (although it takes a MUCH longer time to build up a skill online than in the PC game). And you can build up relationships with other Sims online, but this seems to take a long time too. You can get promoted at your job the same as the PC game – building skills and making friends. I guess it’s possible to buy items, but I don’t think they’d be useful unless you had your own land. It’s nice to chat to other Sims, but I don’t see a purpose to the other things available to the free players. I guess they need to entice the free members to upgrade to the pay service. If the monthly fee isn’t too high, I might think about it. But I don’t think I’ll become addicted with the free service.
Here’s an article I read that introduces it: http://www.techcrunch.com/2008/02/25/ea-turns-the-sims-online-into-free-ea-land-second-life-competitor/