Indie game ‘Paralives’ threatens to swallow ‘The Sims’ consumer base

“The Sims”, developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts, has been the most well-known life simulation sandbox game since the 2000s, when the first game in the series was published. For two decades, “The Sims” has had a relative monopoly over the life simulation genre, with no real competitors capable of usurping Electronic Arts’ throne, until now. “Paralives”, an indie game developed by Alex Masse and published by him on Steam is slowly becoming a serious competitor in a Sims dominated market.

“Maggie’s Loft” displays the latest update on “Paralives” rendering and building capabilities. (Alex Massé)

Announced on June 29th, 2019, “Paralives” has gamers anticipating its arrival. “Paralives” Youtube channel, where the team posts teasers and behind-the-scenes peeks at the new game, has garnered a healthy following of 169K subscribers. On Patreon, “Paralives” has managed to gain 8,796 patrons, with earnings of $31,906 per month. So how has “Paralives”, a small indie game on Steam, managed to gain such an enormous following? Well, for one, from the sneak peeks posted on Youtube, “Paralives” displays remarkable rendering and customization options.

Hair color in “Paralives” can be uniquely customized through the color wheel as well as options to colorize various sections of the hair in different colors. (Alex Massé)

The personal touches of clutter, golden sunlight and billowing curtains displayed in “Maggie’s Loft”, a teaser video released on “Paralives” Youtube channel, shows a home with personality, and gorgeous rendering. The channel also features many videos on the seemingly boundless character customization options, with color wheels, sectional coloring of hair, and height sliders (all of which does not exist in “The Sims 4”) “Paralives” has tons of potential. Building in “Paralives” seems easy and also, remarkably customizable. The game offers the ability to expand the length and width of any furniture freely, create bunk beds, place items on a free area not limited by an in-game grid, and even fill in the names of the family members on Christmas stockings.

Bunk beds, king beds, single beds, loft beds etc. are easily attainable through “Paralives” building system. (Alex Massé)


Despite all that “Paralives” boasts, the reason for its growing fanbase isn’t only because of what it offers. Rather, it’s because of what “The Sims 4” isn’t able to offer. Ever since “The Sims 4” has been released, players have been complaining. Complaints include expansion packs that are expensive and don’t offer the same amount of gameplay as predecessors in the series, a slow loading page, a nonexistent attraction system, nonexistent storytelling, and most of all, EA’s refusal to acknowledge any legitimate consumer complaints.

“The Sims” series’ monopoly over the life simulation game market has offered consumers no real alternative. “Paralives”, thus, is appealing to disgruntled players of “The Sims”. Many players even hope the introduction of a strong competitor might force EA to listen to them, and improve. “Paralives”, a small indie life simulation game, is set to become a large threat to EA’s monopoly over the genre.