The multiplayer version of "The Sims," set to debut Tuesday, has been hailed as the first major test of whether subscription-based online gaming can appeal to a mass audience. Executives at Electronic Arts, parent company of Wright's Maxis studio, have touted the game as vindication of the company's substantial investment in online gaming. And the 8 million or so people playing the offline version of "The Sims" have some pretty firm ideas about how the online version should work.

"With 'The Sims,' the expectations were so low that anything we did was going to look good," Wright said. "All we can do on this project is fail, because everyone is expecting success. They've told us from the beginning this is the most important project at EA."

No doubt, the original Sims developers are facing quite a challenge with this new multiplayer version... talking of which, PC Game Sales have seen a considerable drop in 2002 for the first time ever, here's the story.