While the flow of new Xbox games for Windows Phone has slowed this year, the number of free to play games in the Xbox lineup continues to grow. These titles rely on In-App Purchases (IAPs) for revenue. Users who enjoy a game and feel motivated to purchase content can do so, while other players can simply play without spending.
We’ll be profiling the In-App Purchases of each new free to play or IAP-heavy mobile Xbox title that comes along. We’ve already looked at the IAPs of Six-Guns from Gameloft; this week we explore the purchases in Electronic Arts’ The Sims FreePlay for Windows Phone 8. Read on to learn exactly what IAPs the game has in store and which offer the best values.
The Windows Phone version of The Sims FreePlay has two types of currencies: Simoleons and Life Points. Unlike many free to play games, players can earn both types of currency through regular gameplay – and I don’t mean by winning some daily lottery. Still, both currencies can be purchased from the in-game store as well.
To access the store, select the purple shopping cart icon at the bottom-right corner of the screen. The store is divided up into three sections. Annoyingly, you have to choose an item and head to the purchase screen in order to actually view its price (just as with the iOS version). Naturally we’ll list the prices right here for your convenience.
These are traditional Sims currency, represented by a green circle with a white shape inside. Simoleons are used to purchase houses, buildings, businesses, furniture, appliances, and several other items.
Your Sims earn Simoleons by performing a variety of actions:
- Gardening: A great source of both money and XP. A garden patch costs only 20 Simoleons, so you might as well install more than one.
- Baking: Another good source of money and XP.
- Jobs: Adult Sims can get a variety of jobs, all with different working hours and pay. Increase your Sim’s job level and he or she will earn more pay.
- Pets: Your dog or cat can find various quantities of money and on very rare occasions, life points.
Ghost hunting: Buy one or more haunted decoration items and your Sims can take up ghost hunting as a hobby. Select the haunted item and choose to have the Sim look for ghosts. After your Sim finds the ghost, tap the red ghost icon and then tap the ghost three times before it escapes. You’ll earn money for the capture.
Multiple Sims can ghost hunt simultaneously, but you’ll need one haunted item per Sim. The Pro Skater’s Dream Pad includes a free skeleton in its rec room. Make sure you use it.
- Other hobbies: Oh yeah, some other hobbies pay money too.
- Daily bonus: Every day you’ll receive a different quantity of Simoleons in the mail.
- House and building revenue: All houses and many buildings produce money over time. Visit the town map to collect it.
- Driving: When a Sim drives a car, it produces musical notes. Follow the car around and hit those notes for small quantities of money. It’s not especially worthwhile though.
- Competitions: After building a Competition Center, your Sims who have hobbies can compete to earn prizes, including Simoleons and Life Points.
Note: quantities vary by player level.
- Handful of Cash – 5,500 Simoleons - $4.99 (1,100 Simoleons per dollar)
- Pile of Cash – 13,500 Simoleons - $7.99 (1,687 Simoleons per dollar)
- Piggy Bank of Cash – 19,000 Simoleons - $9.99 (1,900 Simoleons per dollar)
- Sack of Cash – 32,500 Simoleons - $14.99 (2,167 Simoleons per dollar)
- Trunk of Cash – 108,000 Simoleons - $19.99 (5,400 Simoleons per dollar)
- Bank of Cash – 430,000 Simoleons - $49.99 (8,600 Simoleons per dollar)
- Treasury of Cash – 1,080,000 Simoleons - $99.99 (10,800 Simoleons per dollar)
Most free to play games give better deals on larger quantities of currency. But Sims FreePlay provides unusually high values on the more expensive packs. Of course, that means the low priced packs aren’t too great a value; the $5 pack provides so few Simoleons as to be practically worthless.
Each subsequent houses and building you buy costs more than the one before it; eventually they get pretty expensive. If you find yourself unable to afford a building or other expensive item needed for a goal or Achievement, your choices are to wait and earn the Simoleons or just buy them from the store. Of the Simoleon packages, I find the $20 package most attractive.
Life Points are used to buy premium homes, vehicles, and many other items. Most importantly, Birthday cakes (needed to advance babies to toddlers and toddlers to preteens) and higher quality wedding rings cost Life Points. Goals can be skipped for five Life Points. Additionally, actions can be sped up at a rate of one Life Point per hour.
There are several ways to earn Life Points:
- Goals: Many goals pay in Life Points, though not all.
- Town worth: Reaching town worth milestones pays in Life Points.
- Hobbies: Reaching milestones in a hobby will sometimes pay out in Life Points. After maxing out a hobby, players can choose to start over in the hobby and earn the same rewards again.
- Pets: On very rare occasions, pets can find Life Points for you.
- Competitions: Like Simoleons, Life Points can be won at the Competition Center. First prize is three Life Points. Your Sim will need to be maxed out in a hobby to win first prize.
Life Points packages:
Note: quantities vary by player level.
- Handful of LP – 6 Life Points - $4.99 (1.2 Life Points per dollar)
- Bucket of LP – 21 Life Points - $7.99 (2.6 Life Points per dollar)
- Box of LP – 62 Life Points - $9.99 (6.2 Life Points per dollar)
- Barrow of LP – 105 Life Points - $14.99 (7 Life Points per dollar)
- Carload of LP – 215 Life Points - $19.99 (10.75 Life Points per dollar)
- Truckload of LP – 645 Life Points - $46.99 (13.7 Life Points per dollar)
- Boatload of LP – 1560 Life Points - $99.99 (15.6 Life Points per dollar)
Whereas the sweet spot for Simoleon value is the $20 package, the $10 Life Point pack represents a fair value at a lower price. Not that you can’t blow through 62 Life Points quickly. It’s important to use them conservatively. Don’t speed up actions with Points unless you have a compelling reason, and only skip Goals whose requirements are extremely long term.
The Specials section of the store contains several unique items that can only be acquired vi IAP, plus a combo Simoleon/Life Point package:
Swimsuit Bundle – $4.99
We have new and exclusive Mankinis and Swimsuits for your Sim's next pool party!
Premium Home Pack – $4.99
Give your Sim's home the very finest in living with the Premium Home Pack. Bonus: 5 LP.
Goldfish Aquarium – $0.99
The perfect gift for the Sim who has everything. Buy the Goldfish Aquarium today!
Tropical Fish Bundle – $3.99
Be hypnotized by the beauty of Discus and Angel Fish in these two quality aquariums.
Dress-up Chest – $1.99
Play dress-ups! Bumble Bee, Robot, Panda and Dinosaur costumes for your toddlers!
Wedding Bundle – $4.99
Want to get married in style? You need a Wedding Dress and Groom Suit for your Sims!
Currency Bundle – $15.99
Piggy Bank of Simoleons (19,000 Simoleons) and Box of Life Points (62 LP) Bundle. (2375 Simoleons and 7.75 Life Points per dollar) - Quantities vary by player level
The Premium Home Pack contains:
- 2-Star white toilet – Value: 700 Simoleons
- 2-Star shower – Value: 1,000 Simoleons
- 2-Star wall-mounted television – Value: 1,250 Simoleons
- 2-Star black stereo – Value: 1,600 Simoleons
- 2-Star white bed – Value: 1,600 Simoleons
- 2-Star white bedroom table – Value: 375 Simoleons
- 2-Star white refrigerator – Value: 1,300 Simoleons
- Grey oven – Value: 1,500 Simoleons
- 2-Star white living room chair – Value: 1,500 Simoleons
- 2-Star white couch – Value: 2,200 Simoleons
- 2-Star white coffee table – Value: 450 Simoleons
- 2-Star black bookcase – Value: 800 Simoleons
- 2-Star white dining room table – Value: 700 Simoleons
- 2-Star white dining room chair (4) – Value: 3,200 Simoleons
- Red square wall clock – Value: 175 Simoleons
- Various plants
- Gardening patch (10) – Value: 200 Simoleons
- 5 Life Points
Excluding the plants, that adds up to 18,550 Simoleons worth of items. None of it is exclusive to the pack, but it’s essentially a $10 Simoleon package worth of items plus the five Life Points all for five bucks. That’s a way better buy than a $5 Life Point package!
A curious aspect of the Specials section is all three items listed as 50-60 percent off Tropical Fish, Dress-up Chest, Wedding Bundle) seem to be showing up at regular price. Not much of a bargain, right?
As for the Currency Bundle, it’s a great booster early in the game. You’re essentially getting $10 packs of each currency for $16. The individual high value packages are still a better deal, but the bundle should do if you’re not looking to spend a lot.
Time to start a faimly
Did you make any In-App Purchases, Sims players? Check back soon for our Sims FreePlay Achievement Guide, to be followed by our full review.
- The Sims FreePlay – Windows Phone 8 (1 GB of RAM) – 427 MB – Free – Store Link