Sims Franchise To Explore, uh, Virtual Worlds?

In a somewhat bizarre interview with The Times Online, Nancy Smith (head of the Sims division at EA) said that " in light of the popularity of virtual worlds ... the Sims may soon become a multi-player game." The article fails to mention the failed experiment of The Sims Online, later rebranded to "EA-Land" and scheduled for closure in August. But Smith talks of potential new (and old) modes for online play:

Ms Smith was adamant, however, that The Sims would not break wholly with its past, and would continue to require players to buy and install software on their machines before being able to play. Some virtual worlds, such as Club Penguin and Habbo Hotel, can be played entirely within a web browser ....

The Sims franchise would also continue to explore new revenue models that have become associated with virtual worlds, she said, including sponsorship and the sale of 'virtual goods', as on the fashion-focused virtual world for teens, Stardoll.com.

It's a really odd interview in light of the online element that already fell flat on its face; maybe second time will be the charm for the Sims?

The Sims prepare for a sociable future [The Times via Worlds In Motion]