Over the last few months, The Sims community has begun to see a clear divide as an increasingly large amount of Simmers are feeling disillusioned with the franchise. Common complaints are that the game has become riddled with bugs, while the gameplay and features are not living up to expectations set by previous installments.
This unhappiness has culminated in the creation of a hashtag, #stopEAabuse, which has further divided the community, mostly due to the word “abuse” being used in this way. The intention was to bring together complaints and unite Simmers but instead, the wording has become lost in translation and led to larger-scale upset.
The Best Intentions
The hashtag was created by a Spanish simmer, who wanted to bring together those who are disillusioned with The Sims 4 and unite them in one place. Posting a graphic on social media, they highlighted the issues that the hashtag was created to discuss. These revolve around the increasingly common complaint that the game feels incomplete, with packs being rushed out filled with game breaking bugs.
While the hashtag was created as an attempt to unite, it has in fact divided the community as discussion quickly turned to the use of the word abuse.
Choosing Your Words Carefully
While many got behind the movement, tweeting out their issues with the game, others began to discuss the wording. Using the word abuse has given rise to some very strong feelings, with many believing it's insensitive and inappropriate, trivializing the experience of abuse victims.
Some prominent Sims community members have come forward to discuss the problematic hashtag, including Ex Sims 4 Community Manager Kate Olmstead, who called it "unnecessary and insensitive."
EA Gamechanger HolliebbTV also slammed the hashtag, stating that it made her "embarrassed to be considered a sims streamer."
Due to their connections with EA, both were slammed with accusations of favoritism, with many refusing to believe their opinions are valid. However, all this discussion around wording has given rise to a much bigger issue.
The arguments about semantics have meant that the campaign's focus has shifted from issues within the game to issues with the word abuse, a point summarised well by Nelsbuilds.
The game has a lot of issues. But if we're focusing on arguing about the word abuse, we're not even talking about the Sims anymore. There's a lot of missing content. Packs feel overpriced for what we get. BUGS GALORE. But the #StopEAabuse tag doesn't make me think of any of that.— NelsBuilds 🛠 (@NelsBuilds) October 2, 2019
Nels tweets are well thought out, acknowledging the problems with wording, while not dismissing the issues within the game. It should also be noted that Nel is another EA Gamechanger, showing that actually, they don't all think the game is perfect.
Abuse In The Community
As well as feeling that the hashtag is insensitive towards abuse victims it also provokes visions of there being abusers within the community.
This was also a concern of many when they saw it, especially since earlier this year the Sims community was hugely affected by a badly handled incident involving harassment conducted by an EA Game Changer.
Another recent accusation of Game Changer misconduct, which thankfully was swiftly dealt with, has left the community understandably on edge with regards to these issues.
While abuse of this nature in the community should not just be swept aside, the problematic hashtag has merged two separate issues and divided instead of united.
Changing The Wording
In response to the backlash, the Spanish simming community has come forward to clarify that the word abuse is often used in place of exploitation or corruption in Spain. However, listening to the wider community they acknowledged the issues raised and proposed a new hashtag, #EAlisten. The two will now be used in tandem to push the campaign forward.
Simmers who wish to express their feelings of frustration are now being invited to do so using whichever hashtag they feel comfortable with. Meanwhile, the campaign managers are hoping to gain the attention of EA this weekend when they launch a big push on October 6 at 4.00 CEST.
The Aim Of The Campaign
This movement was set up to highlight what many feel are ongoing issues within The Sims 4. After a 5-year life cycle, players have a vast array of DLC to choose from but many feel like the game is still incomplete.
If you purchased the base game and all the DLC at the full retail price then the cost of playing right now stands at a little over $650. When this amount of money is involved gamers are getting impatient and the community is starting to see the results.
The main concerns are that the game feels rushed and packs are released full of bugs. This is a genuine concern, shared by many players, but unfortunately by choosing words that evoke such emotion these campaign roots have got lost somewhere along the way.
It remains to be seen if the campaign manages to gain extra traction over the weekend as they seek to push forward - but whatever the result, it's a lesson in thinking about your language carefully. Communities can never be united by divisive language.