According to lectures I have given small boardroom audiences about the nature of social games, it makes me a person who has never had an STD (among other things) — and it also makes me Not The Target Audience. Here I yank my hand away from the fire: that was close! We almost said that the Target Audience for social games is people who have had, do have, or will have an STD. Let’s be nice: players who, say, weed their yards are fastidious, careful people, who require that even their digital playgrounds be clean up to a certain point.
The highest-priced Social-Points-buyable item (a sort of bed) retails for 7,500 Social Points and nets 10,550 House Value, for a total of 1.4067 House Value per Social Point.
If we bought 500 of this Astonish Emperor bed (description text: “Fit for a king? Pah!”), it would cost us a total of 3,750,000 Social Points and award us 5,275,000 House Value (and the title of World Champion The Sims Social Player).
Before you wonder if there’s even room in the real estate allotted to the player in The Sims Social, know that you can keep items in storage, and still benefit from their House Value. Beds, technically, need to be put together to be enjoyed visually, though they don’t need to be put together to enjoy their House Value. So you could have an empty plot of land crammed with disassembled beds, and a storage space full of them, as well, and be the highest-scoring player in the world.
The highest rate for converting SimCash to Social Points is 70 SimCash to 1,400 Social Points. You’d need 2,679 packages of 1,400 Social Points to achieve this. That’s a total of 187,500 SimCash. At the maximum rate, that’s 209 packages of 900 SimCash priced at $100 each.
So, the title of World Champion The Sims Social Player would cost us $20,900.00 (or $20,833.34, if they let us buy one SimCash at a time at a flat rate of $0.1111).
Let’s keep running with this extreme example. Let’s say that, instead of buying SimCash to convert to Social Points, you decided to instead earn your Social Points.
With a supply of infinite energy, and presuming an average of 2.5 Social Points per energy points (sometimes the more intimate actions yield two instead of three points) it would take the player 4,167 hours and 40 minutes, on the nose, to execute 1.5 million social actions.
Presuming the supply of energy is not infinite, and that the player must wait one hour for every twelve energy points . . . well, you might not like this number: 1.5 million social actions means 1.5 million energy points spent. Earning 1.5 million energy points without playing the game requires (either a lot of sending your friends “free energy gifts” and a lot of your friends sending you energy in return, or) 125,000 hours of vigilant waiting.
Now let’s say that you’d rather be a complete balls-to-walls psycho and buy your energy points. We will, for the purpose of this example, ignore that this would require you to use all of the points, which would take the aforementioned 4,167 hours and 40 minutes. You can purchase energy for SimCash at a maximum rate of 1.25 energy per SimCash, which is 11.25 energy per US dollar. At this rate, we’re looking at a cost of $166,667.67 and nearly 4,200 hours of continuous game-playing to achieve The Highest Possible Score in The Sims Social.
Looking over the data, we can see that directly purchasing the currency necessary to obtain The High Score requires $20,833.33, though purchasing energy — the “credits” the player needs to “play” the “game”, the “tokens” or “quarters” he puts into this proverbial coin-eating machine — would cost him $166,667.67.
A summary of the findings of this example is this: if the player pays money to recharge his energy meter in The Sims Social, so that he can continue to use those energy points to perform in-game actions, he will earn 177.75 in-game currency units for each dollar he spends. However, if he pays money to buy the currency directly, he will earn 707.14285 in-game currency unit he spends. In short, the game offers the player a 400% (sometimes 800% (an average 600%)) incentive to not play it (by which we mean, “to not participate in its core mechanics”).
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