I have an awful feeling the end is nigh, I hope im wrong. Luc and his team took this over in March 2007, so here we are just a little over 12 months later and it has gone ominously quiet on the part of the Devs. From the emails sent out to old members earlier this year, Amnesty was implied for March, this has now been stretched to April. Even from the start, TSO never did hit the numbers. In Beta in 2002 they needed 100,000 players to beta test the game and the servers. They hit something like 38,000 despite the fact that over half a million people had subscribed to the Sims Newsletter. Membership peaked in 2003, I dont know what the figures were, but I doubt it reached the target they even needed for Beta. We know from what the Devs have told us in recent months that membership was around 13,000 last year. When The Sims Online was first developed it had a budget in excess of $25 million. Lets be generous and say that in the first 3 years they averaged 50,000 members, in year 4 25,000 members and year 5 13,000 members. That’s a total income over 5 years of $22.5 million . It seems unlikely that EA has even recouped their initial $25 million budget. If they had just left the money in the bank doing nothing, in 5 years they would have earned around $5million interest. We are now 5 years later and membership is probably around 15,000 paying members, that’s $1.8 million income a year . There is no way that EA can afford to sink the kind of money into this game that they did 5 years ago. Last year, it transpired that EA were going to cut their losses and pull the plug. Luc Greg and Lee have all discussed this with us. EA by some miracle had a change of heart and let Luc and his team try to revive the game. There are 30 devs listed on the blog, when this game was first developed there were hundreds. To revive this game and make it pay the Devs had to come up with something radical to get our interest fired up again, and that radical idea had to have been Cash Out. Make the members believe they could actually make real money while they play, but the reality is that they cannot afford to do this, hence the earnings cap they are now testing. However much we love TSO/Ealand, if the game doesn’t hit the numbers then its dead in the water. Go to Ealand and look down the top 100 list for each category then click on each property to see how many are online. I have just done this myself, its Saturday evening peak playing time and this is the result Money 24 houses with 196 players Offbeat 0 houses open Romance 10 houses with 33 players Services 9 houses with 23 players Stores 64 lots open with 227 players (go figure) Skill 20 houses with 192 players Welcome 4 houses with 31 players Games 0 houses Entertainment 6 houses with 43 players Residential 8 houses with 17 players That’s a total of 145 houses/lots open with 762 players (figures are for EALand only) Admittedly, there may be houses open that have not hit the top 100 list, but how many players are going to be in houses that don’t even appear on the list. Lets say 38 to be generous. That’s rounds up the players playing right now at 800. This is for EALand only. TC3 IS less busy than EALand, but probably has a higher percentage of free players. I havnt counted but lets say there are 500 people playing TC3 right now, so a total of around 1300. Considering that other online games have memberships running into hundreds of thousands, does this sound like a successful online game to you? Does this level of player activity justify 30 Devs? If YOU were an EA Exec what would you do?