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We found out what makes the Sims so addictive


The Sims 4 has an incredibly loyal player base. Around 35 million people play the game on a regular basis. The Sims 4 was launched almost eight years ago, and its popularity only keeps increasing. The Sims community is really friendly, and helpful unlike many other gaming communities oozing with toxicity.

So, what’s the secret? What makes the Sims so popular and addictive? Is there a secret recipe that other game creators can replicate? We asked the Sims fans what they loved about the game and got some really interesting insights.

Getting to play God is what makes The Sims so addictive

We ran a poll to find out what makes the Sims so addictive. Here are the results:

  • 42 percent of respondents play the Sims because they get to play God
  • 27 percent like the game because they can live different lives
  • 18 percent play the game to reduce stress and anxiety
  • 8 percent think that challenges and aspirations are addictive
  • 3 percent love the endless customization options
  • 2 percent of players cited other reasons


I get to play God

The number one reason why people play The Sims is because they get to play God. Playing The Sims 4 is like playing God. Players get to control what happens in their Sims’ little lives and micromanage all the aspects of their existence.

[…] the other element that has kept me playing for 20 years is the feeling of control. I’m a micromanager in real life and the game gives me the ability to truly manage and control things in a way that real life doesn’t. The control helps calm me down.

You can create your own characters and watch over your Sims. You can create unusual and unique looking Sims. You can also nudge them this way or that way depending on what you want them to do. You’re the puppet-master.

Thanks to the new Neighborhood Stories, you can now influence or encourage major life changes in the NPC Sims’ lives. You can control everything in the world of the Sims.

For some players, having Sims is like having virtual pets. Many players also get emotionally attached to their Sims and are devastated when they die of old age. Thankfully, there are very few lethal diseases in the game. Most of the illnesses are curable.

But there’s something else beyond that. Players are in full control over what’s happening in the game. On the other hand, we, humans, don’t get to control our environment and the events in the real world to the extend that we’d want to. The Sims offers an antidote to all the stress and anxiety factors from the real world by putting players in the driver’s seat.

I can create my very own world and live different lives

The building options in The Sims are unparalleled in gaming. You can design your dream house in just a few minutes. You can upgrade from cozy little countryside-style cottages to huge mansions. The building element in The Sims is a creative outlet for many gamers.

Playing The Sims is like living different lives. Some Sim stories can be quite realistic, while others can be utterly paranormal and alien-like. You can pursue any career you want and become really successful at what you’re doing. The sky is the limit. Oh, and there’s also an endless supply of money.

For me, Sims is an escape but also an exercise of creativity since I always have backstories in my head for my sims. It’s a low effort form of creativity for me. I also quite enjoy decorating and building.

There are no real consequences in the game. If you pursue a Criminal career path, you can do a lot of morally wrong things but that won’t destroy your life. For instance, you can bully other Sims, physically fight them, steal stuff from them, sometimes you’ll get arrested, and so on. In the worst case scenario, your little Sim’s life will be ruined, but that’s not really a major issue.

Sometimes my Simself is running a vineyard, or a hair salon, or sometimes she is a detective, or celebrity. The risks that I don’t want to take in real life I take them in The Sims, lol.

Many players remain hooked in front of their screens playing The Sims for hours on end simply because there are so many things that Sims can do and human beings can’t.

The fact your Sims can do so MANY things that normal human beings can’t do is enough

The game helps me reduce stress and anxiety

The Sims is a game that gives players peace and a sense of tranquility and calm. There is no pandemic, no war, and no sense of hopelessness or lack of purpose. There’s no racism growing everywhere, or poverty rising again. Equally important, there’s no competition and toxicity. And you don’t have to go through the pain of failure or rejection. There’s only peace, friendly faces, and giggles.

Although you can use Mean or Mischief interactions, they’re nowhere near the level of meanness you might sometimes experience in the real world.

If you get fired, you can find a new job in the blink of an eye. If you get struck by lightning, all you need to do is exit the game and load the last save. There’s really nothing to worry about.

[…] it calms my anxieties. I am a daydreamer and this game is perfect for daydreamers to excuse their daydreams. I love escaping reality.

There’s a never-ending list of customization options

There are lots and lots and lots of mods that you can use to spice up the game. And unlike many other game developers, Maxis fully support content creators’ ideas. For example, they worked together with Ebonix to design the nail patterns from Spa Day. There’s a massive global community of content creators that roll out new options every day.

There’s just so much gameplay and so many things to try.

Sims 4 challenges and aspirations are addictive

The Sims has a plethora of structured goals, and milestones you need to reach in order to earn specific traits and complete aspirations. If you want to achieve a certain goal, the path to follow is clearly laid ahead.

Aspirations are lifelong goals for Sims. Each aspiration has several milestones you need to reach to complete the aspiration. There’s a great sense of achievement and purpose in monitoring your Sims’ progress as they work they way towards a specific aspiration.

The gamification system kicks in perfectly when you reach a major milestone, pushing you to go to the next step. Completing an aspiration is a prize in itself.

You can’t get bored while playing The Sims. If you like challenging things, you can play different scenarios. For example, if you the achiever type, you can play the Perfectly Well Rounder scenario where you need to reach level 10 in three different skills. But that’s not the only task.


The Sims gives players the freedom and control they would rarely or never be able to achieve in real life. That’s what makes the game so addictive for millions of players.

You can get as creative as you like and build your own world. You can then live a meaningful life through your Sims. The best part is that you can have everything: the perfect house, perfect career, perfect friends, perfect pets.

The game is also an outlet for all the desires that players have and can only fulfil after years and years of hard-work in the real-world. The Sims let you live your dream life, and also acts as a band-aid for real-life struggles.

What makes The Sims so addictive for you? How long have you been playing the Sims for? Let me know in the comments below.


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