Got an interesting message in my inbox (besides all the whining and complaining that I normally get). It’s a petition started by Catherine over at SimplySims. It’s a petition to get Maxis to host an “Object Exchange” service. Basically asking them to take their countless millions that they’ve made off you and host downloads of objects, much like they have for “The Sims Exchange” and homes.

This is in response to the high cost of running a large Sim site. As everyone knows (if you haven’t been living in a cave), many Sim sites are switching over to some kind of pay system to cover the bandwidth costs and keep their sites up. Personally I wouldn’t call this an easy solution. First, Maxis has to provide personnel and bandwith of their own. If there was a central site to host everything, think of the resources that would take. If people are already having issues with fan sites being expensive because of the large number of visits, imaging 10 TSRs or SimFreak sites all gobbled together. Personally I wouldn’t want to see that ISP bill. Sure Maxis made a goop of cash from The Sims, but people seem to forget the high cost of production, marketing, advertising, r&d;, etc. that goes into a product. It’s not like it’s Will Wright sitting in front of a computer churning out code.

The other downside of this I see is the effect it would have on the existing sites that are charging for access. It would start with most of the independant creators and free sites posting their objects. This would mean that all the small, indy sites would probably deteriorate and vanish from existance. What’s the point of keeping a website up if nobody comes to it? I’m not sure if this would have any effect on the pay sites since that’s really what you have now, just spread across the internet instead of at one central location. So would that mean people might stop going to the pay sites? Probably not. Would the creators of the high quality content on the pay sites drop their web costs and upload their files to Maxis’ servers? Probably not since it would mean they would be lumped into a large collective of everything else. There would be no identity or uniqueness anymore. Maybe if Maxis created small mini-sites on their servers for groups that created content it might work.

In any case, I don’t think there are any real answers or simple solutions to the problem. I’m certainly never happy to see a free site go the way of the dodo. As with any game, the fans have made The Sims what it is today. It’s a great, unique game but if Maxis didn’t provide us with the tools or capabilities to expand it, it would have been just another EA title that nobody remembered. It’s not any companies responsibility to the community to have to support it, no matter how much money you made from it. The same argument keeps bubbling up to the surface whenever this issue comes up. If you don’t want to subscribe to a pay site, then don’t. You’re not missing what you don’t have and you get what you pay for.

Anyways, you be the judge and sign (or don’t sign it). I think it’s a good idea and someone is trying to rally around and do something about the problem instead of just bitching about it. So good luck to Catherine and her cause.