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Brief Published: 10 Jul 2020

TBS Launches Sims Gaming Reality Competition Show

Hitting screens on July 17, US broadcaster TBS's new reality competition show The Sims Spark'd will pit 12 players against each other to earn the title of most creative storyteller – and $100,000.

Spectator gaming is more commonly associated with inherently competitive titles – sport emulators like Fifa, or battle arena games like League of Legends. But The Sims Spark'd is taking the competition to gamers' skills in character design, house crafting and storytelling, in a format reminiscent of reality competition staples like The Great British Bake-Off or Project Runway.

There will also be tie-ins with the life simulation video game itself. Starting on July 17, The Sims 4 will feature weekly in-game challenges tied directly to the show, to activate the game's community.

We've seen esports draw mainstream viewers when traditional sports leagues took to their corresponding games to keep fan spirit alive during lockdown. The inaugural Virtual Grand Prix amassed 3.2 million online viewers and around 1.2 million on TV (see Pop Culture Round-Up: Spring 2020 for more).

Lockdown has led to explosive audience growth in gaming, and its narratives are crossing over into the entertainment mainstream. Just in the past few weeks, it was announced that indie games My Friend Pedro and Disco Elysium are being turned into TV series, while Amazon has put Westworld creators Lisa Joy and Jonah Nolan to work on an adaptation of US developer Bethesda's bestselling game series Fallout.

Gaming's mass appeal is opening the doors for brands from every industry to get in front of interactively engaged audiences. For more on the latest developments in gaming, check out Creative Content: Fandom Fills the Gap and our Pop Culture & Media Mid-Year Review.