Three new job listings were posted at various EA locations for Backend Software Engineers for "an upcoming Sims game". The listings state that EA is looking for engineers who can "develop responsive, resilient, massively scalable, and globally available web services that support millions of players". That certainly sounds like a multiplayer mode, no?
The next bullet in the listing, however, suggests that The Sims 5 multiplayer may include a competitive mode, as the software engineer must "creatively blend security best practices and original techniques to keep user data secure and prevent cheating". Since The Sims 4 cheats are incredibly popular and not really frowned upon by EA, this implies that cheating in The Sims 5 would give players a competitive edge in multiplayer modes.
Last January, EA's CEO Andrew Wilson said that The Sims 5 could have more multiplayer features like "social interactions and competition". In a conference call with investors, Wilson was asked directly about an online-focused Sims title. He responded with, "As Maxis continues to think about The Sims for a new generation - across platforms in a cloud-enabled world - you should imagine that, while we will always stay true to our inspiration, escape, creation, and self-improvement motivations, that this notion of social interactions and competition - like the kind of things that were actually present in The Sims Online many, many years ago - that they will start to become part of the ongoing Sims experience in the years to come."
So, while news that The Sims 5 multiplayer is on the table isn't exactly a surprise, the recent spate of job listings suggests that EA is gearing up to start work on the next Sims game, which will only make Simmers happy. After all, The Sims 4 has been out for nearly seven years - it's time for a sequel.