The Sims is a series of life simulation video games developed by Maxis and published by Electronic Arts. The franchise has sold nearly 200 million copies worldwide, and it is one of the best-selling video game series of all time. The games in the Sims series are largely sandbox games, in that they lack any defined goals (except for some later expansion packs and console versions which introduced this gameplay style). The player creates virtual people called 'Sims, ' places them in houses, and helps direct their moods and satisfy their desires. Players can either place their Sims in pre-constructed homes or build them themselves. Each successive expansion pack and game in the series augmented what the player could do with their Sims. The Sims series is part of the larger Sim series, started by SimCity in 1989. Development Game designer Will Wright was inspired to create a 'virtual doll house' after losing his home during the Oakland firestorm of 1991 and subsequently rebuilding his life. Replacing his home and his other possessions made him think about adapting that life experience into a game. When Wright initially took his ideas to the Maxis board of directors, they were skeptical and gave little support or financing for the game. The directors at Electronic Arts, which bought Maxis in 1997, were more receptiveSimCity had been a great success for them, and they foresaw the possibility of building a strong Sim franchise. Wright has stated that The Sims was actually meant as a satire of U. S. consumer culture.