Pirated Copies of The Sims 4 Contain a 'Nudity Glitch'


EA Games, the makers of the Sims franchise, have included a deliberate glitch in the latest addition to the series that makes pirated copies of the game unplayable.

The Sims 4, which was released earlier this week, is the most recent installment of one of the best-selling PC franchises of all time. The life simulator series allows gamers to 'play God' - creating realistic avatar characters ('Sims'), moving them into houses, and directing their actions.

In all Sims games, the developers preserve the modesty of characters by pixelating their bodies whenever they take a bath or shower. However, EA's glitch ensures that the pixellated area gradually spreads to blur out the entire screen, remaining there indefinitely.

Numerous pirates, unaware that this was an intended glitch, took to official forums of the game to complain about their supposed "bug", where they were then ridiculed by paying gamers for falling prey to EA's trap.

Although illegal downloading is an issue for any popular computer game, the Sims 4 has been expected to suffer particularly heavy piracy due to widespread displeasure within the Sims fanbase at several notable departures from previous installments of the franchise. Early reviewers of the game have criticised the removal of swimming pools as a building feature and the 'toddler' life stage. The game currently holds an average rating of 3.8 out of 10 on metacritic.com.

Loz Kaye, the leader of the Pirate Party, a UK pressure group which seeks to legalise file sharing, was ambivalent about EA's anti-piracy measure.

"It looks like EA have been using their effort in the wrong place," he told Newsweek. "If they had used their creativity on the actual game, Sims 4 might have got better reviews. Making a great gaming experience is what will make people part with their cash, not 'pirate catching' gimmicks."

"That said, at least it's an approach that doesn't involve calling the police on anyone. The British government has ploughed millions into financing copyright cops. When the police are facing tough budget cuts for dealing with actual crime, they certainly don't need to be chasing people with pixelated Sims."

The Sims 4's glitch is one of a number of novel methods game designers have used to combat online piracy. A previous EA Games release, 'Mirror's Edge,' automatically slows down characters before they reach key jumps that must be taken at speed. Pirated versions of Rockstar's 'Grand Theft Auto IV' contain a glitch which forces the in-game camera to wobble after a few minutes of play, while illegal downloads of the first person shooter game 'Serious Sam 3' spawn a giant, immortal scorpion that constantly pursues the player.

The UK government recently announced that people downloading copyrighted material will no longer face prosecution, but will instead receive a series of letters or emails aimed at educating them on the problems caused by online piracy, effectively decriminalising the practice.