I'm not going to lie, I don't buy a lot of games and certainly don't like paying for "DLC" or micro transactions. The Sims 3, while built on a very nice engine doesn't come with a lot of the items that the original 2 games came with. These are now purchased online, item by item.
An idea I think would be really interesting is if they started issuing a free version of their game with all the features but, you're obligated to upload custom content which then becomes property of EA. This idea came to me when playing Spore, where the creature creator was a free download, and the creatures were uploaded to EA's servers and were actually used to populate other planet's when you bought and played the game.
A game like the Sims would be great for this, especially if the process of scanning things like furniture and digitizing become much more simplified. I've seen some videos of people scanning things with simple, every day, video cameras.
Now of coarse, you would need to know how to tag properties to the item, make sure it doesn't clip and all of that, but tutorials and good software can make this real easy.
People are going to download these games anyways, if Maxis provides the engine and the tools, they could potentially build a portion of the game and let the global community add to it, and later turn around and sell these, at an affordable rate.
Now, of coarse a lot of people would want to take advantage of this, and I could see it not working out in a couple ways, one, where everyone downloads the free version provides free crap that no one buys. Second, where the system is set up in a way where everyone that does get the free product actually provide a quality service that pays off, but people still pirate the game anyway, getting the game without providing a service.
In my opinion, the second outcome is the better one, so it would be ideal to shoot for a good system, and in my opinion, this would go really good when tied with beta testing.
For example, the sims 4 is announced and there is a big media announcement about this idea, one that sends the message that if any hacker want's to get their game for free, EA is saying, "alright, that's fine, but you have to do a little bit of work for us."
Sort of like a restaurant owner saying, "Alright, you can have a free meal, but you gotta do the dishes."
The first that sign up take part in beta testing and once the "item/product creator" is done, they get access to it with a bunch of support to help add whatever they want to the game, also, taking part in the construction of the game with feedback, and so on. Basically, wherever EA can find a service, this can be brought to the freebee crowd. "Freebee", like a bunch of worker bee's, lol, I like that.
So, the free game wouldn't come until the system has verified that you've provided some sort of service.
Yea, hacker's might find ways around this, but I think when it comes to the intelligent computer crowd, they would respect this idea.
Respect goes a long way in this new digital era. There are plenty of examples of businesses that have thrived because customers support their business model.