Life By You director says modders are welcome to monetize creations however they want: 'Go for it—you don't need our permission'

 Life By You screenshot.
Life By You screenshot.

If you think your folder of Sims 4 custom content is stuffed, its upcoming competition Life By You wants to attract even more mods to clog your downloads folder. Life By You envisions itself as a highly customizable modder's paradise, and unlike the tension that can exist between The Sims 4 and Patreon-funded modders, Life By You says "monetize all you want—you don't owe us a dime."

In a recent interview with PC Gamer, Life by You creative director Rod Humble, who was previously head of The Sims and Second Life, took a totally permissive view of modding in general. "Player creativity is good for us," Humble said. "It's good for us [even if] we don't make a dime because it was made using our game.

"If you make a YouTube series made using Life By You, I want you to know: You monetize all you want. You don't owe us a dime—go for it. Likewise, if you make a mod and it's downloaded by millions of people and you're like, 'actually I'm going to take my mod to my website and I'm going to start monetizing it,' perhaps on Patreon like a whole bunch of modders do, I want creators to know: Go for it. You don't need our permission."

Though he doesn't mention it by name, this is a much more lax attitude than the current Sims modding policy set by EA, which does allow ad-supported download sites and using Patreon to offer "an early access incentive for a reasonable amount of time," though never to permanently paywall mods. Clarifying that policy has been a source of tension within the Sims modding community in years past. Paying for mods has always been a somewhat contentious topic, made more so when developers or storefronts get involved.

Life By You's approach is just to remove itself from the equation as much as possible, it sounds. Modders can sell their work however they like and it's between them and the rest of the player community whether or not it's worth paying for.

Humble says that's been a benefit of working with strategy and simulation publisher Paradox Interactive, which he believes is aligned in its attitude towards modders. It does have its own Paradox mods site, which Humble says the studio is "really delighted to be a part of" and thinks will make things easier for Life by You modders, but he also says they're "not locking anybody into anything."

Humble describes Life By You almost as if it isn't a game and is instead a kind of musical instrument for players to riff on to simulate any kind of world they want. "We don't want anybody who creates content for our game to think that we would ever be a problem. It's your game. It's your toolset. You call the characters whatever you want. You don't represent our brand—you're representing your brand. We want to empower creators."

Life By You - a modding toolset panel showing a desktop computer object and its properties
Life By You - a modding toolset panel showing a desktop computer object and its properties

Modded or unmodded, Life by You aims to be a highly customizable experience. Players can, for example, zoom in on conversations between characters and edit them in game as if constructing their own stage play. Humble envisions players sharing scenes with their audience everywhere from YouTube to Instagram.

"I hope that Life By You will support creators of all kinds and it will find a home," he said. "I want people to use it with confidence knowing that this is a tool they can rely on."

As for the oncoming tide of new sandbox life simulations in general, Humble said he believes the genre is growing because it's fundamentally "inclusive."  Life By You launches in early access on June 4.