The Sims 4, the latest instalment in the hugely popular life simulation game franchise, was announced by EA in May 2013 but didn't hit the shelves until September 2014, followed by the Mac release in February 2015. But when are the next the Sims 4 expansion packs coming out, and what will they be called? Here, we bring you the official Sims 4 release date news, and also take a closer look at the new features, screenshots and trailers for the PC game.

The Sims 4 release date: When is the next Sims 4 expansion pack coming out?

EA first announced that The Sims 4 was in development in May 2013, and suggested that we'd see the game in early 2014. It actually launched later than expected, in September, but only for PC. Then, on 17 February 2015, the game arrive on Mac as a digital download from the Origin store. If you already downloaded the game for PC but now wish to play it on your Mac, you can do so simply by using the product code on the box. All buyers of the Mac version will get a PC copy and vice versa.

You can buy The Sims 4 from Origin here, or from Amazon here.

On 2 April 2015, owners of The Sims 4 could also download the first full expansion pack for the game, adding lots of new features. It's called The Sims 4: Get To Work, and introduces new career paths for Sims. The Sims 4: Get To Work expansion pack is available from the Origin store for both PC and Mac for £22.49 here.

The second expansion pack for The Sims 4 was announced in August 2015. It's called Get Together, and it was released in December. You can find out more about The Sims 4 Get Together by reading on, and it's available to buy now here

The Sims 4 Expansion Packs: What's new in Get To Work?

First announced on 4 February, Get To Work brings three new active careers that offer fully playable career venues, which means you'll get to go to work with your Sim. It also brings businesses to The Sims, so you can have your Sim set up their own bakery, clothing boutique, art gallery, bookstore and more.

The three playable careers are Doctor, Police Officer, and Scientist. As a Doctor, your Sim will spend their day treating patients, performing surgeries and delivering babies. As a Police Officer, you'll investigate crime scenes, interrogate Sims and arrest criminals. And as a Scientist, you'll get to build inventions, collect unique specimens and decide whether you want to use your creations for good or evil.

There are many cool things your Sims can do as a doctor, for example. They can determine a co-workers Hotness, determine the gender of a baby on pregnant Sims, cure patients (how many can you cure in one day?), X-Ray scan an Alein, be surprised by outbreaks and other random events, and make house calls for other patients.

The Sims 4: Get To Work also brings with it new objects, new skills including Photography and Baking, and if that's not enough, you also get Aliens (random!).

The Sims 4 Expansion Packs: What's new in Get Together

Get Together, which is the second full expansion pack set to arrive for The Sims 4, will introduce lots of new features for the socialites among you.

An all-new world called Windenburg will bring with it a new hedge maze to explore, new natural pools and some ancient ruins for the more adventurous Sims. Your Sims will also be able to visit new cafés, pubs and clubs with new objects and activities including foosball, bonfires and dance parties.

New skills include DJ and dancing, and you'll be able to throw parties absolutely anywhere.

There's also set to be a new walk-in closet (which is also a new location to WooHoo if that's what you're into), and an exclusive private island to visit within Windenburg.

You can watch the trailer below.

The Sims 4 Game Packs: Outdoor Retreat

The Sims 4's first game pack, Outdoor Retreat, launched in January 2015. It sits between Expansion Packs and Stuff Packs both in terms of price and content, with new items as well as new gameplay elements that'll add hours more fun to the game.

Outdoor Retreat introduces a new destination that Sims can travel to. It's filled with woods and forests that include new herbs and insects, and also make the perfect location for camping and hiking. New outdoor activities include stargazing and roasting marshmallows around the campfire, and you'll be able to build your Sim's new herbalism skill to create helpful remedies.

The first game pack comes at a price of £14.99 and is available to download now from Origin.

The Sims 4 Game Packs: Spa Day

The second game pack is called Spa Day, and was released on 14 July 2015. It brings with it a venue building, which (you guessed it) is a spa! Perfect Balance Spa invites your Sims to get a massage, have a mud bath, do some yoga and enjoy the sauna to improve their new Wellness skill.

Plus, there are new outfits, objects and decorations, including a new tropical fish aquarium (cool!).

You can buy The Sims 4: Spa Day for £14.99 here.

The Sims 4 Game Packs: Dine out

The latest Game Pack to be released is called Dine Out, and arrived on 7 June 2016. It introduces restaurants to the game, and also lets you build and run your own restaurant should you choose to. There are new items, new Create a Sim elements and new cooking and food features too.

You can buy Dine Out now here.

The Sims 4 Stuff Packs

In addition to the full expansion packs and the smaller game packs, The Sims 4 also has Stuff Packs. So far there are six: Luxury Party Stuff, Perfect Patio Stuff, Cool Kitchen Stuff, Spooky Stuff, Movie Hangout Stuff, Romantic Garden Stuff.

Essentially, they add a bunch of new objects to the game. The Luxury Party Stuff, for example, will get you new party outfits, buffet tables, chocolate fondeu and more.

The Perfect Patio Stuff pack offers new garden furniture including hot tubs, and several new outdoorsy outfits.

And the Cool Kitchen Stuff pack gets you (you guessed it) new kitchen stuff! That includes counters, cabinets and appliances.

With Spooky Stuff you'll get Halloween-related items and costumes, as well as a new spooky party option.

Movie Hangout stuff gets you Bohemian clothing, a home theatre and new items like a Popcorn maker.

Romantic Garden Stuff brings new outdoor objects and even a Whispering Wishing Well, but be careful what you wish for!

They cost £7.99 each and are available to download by following the links below to the Origin Store:

Cool Kitchen Stuff on the Origin Store.
Perfect Patio Stuff on the Origin Store.
Luxury Party Stuff on the Origin Store.
Spooky Stuff on the Origin Store.
Movie Hangout Stuff on the Origin Store.
Romantic Garden Stuff on the Origin Store.

The Sims 4 Expansion Pack rumours: Sims 4 Expansion Packs release date rumours

We know that a new Stuff Pack called Kids Room Stuff is coming on 28 June, but what else can we expect to see in the near future from The Sims 4 developers?

There's no official word yet on other full Expansion Packs or Game Packs, but rumour has it Stuff Pack 8 will be called Backyard Stuff. 

Plus, in October, many Sims players recieved an email survey that hinted at potential Sims 4 expansion packs, including a City Living expansion and Supernatural content (both of which were available through The Sims 3 Expansions).

Other rumours suggest that Pets could be introduced to The Sims 4 soon.

The Sims 4 updates

Now that we're in the digital age, this gives EA a chance to add some improvements to The Sims 4, and some fun and exciting tweaks, through DLC packages that are free to the user. EA has already updated the game with lots of free improvements, including ghosts (which can actually be playable characters), a Star Wars costume set, and new Career paths and rewards.

Community requested improvements (it's nice to know that EA is listening) include eye colours and the return of pools.

Most recently, The Sims 4 was updated with new gender customisation options that aren't restricted by gender boundaries that were previously in place. You can now create a Sim with any type of voice, walk, physique, clothing and hairstyles no matter which gender you choose.

On 2 February, which also marked the 15th anniversary of The Sims, EA introduced geneology to The Sims 4, meaning you can see all of the previous generations in your Sims 4 family.

Then, at the end of March, EA rolled out another free update that introduced Basements and a fourth top-floor, an upgrade to the easel, two new hairstyles and a Bunny Egg Hunt that continued until the end of April.

The Basement update means you can add two floors to your house below ground level, and the fourth top-floor now means you can have up to six levels in your house.

As for the easel upgrade, Sims can now paint portraits of what they can see in the world, which is kinda cool.

On 11 June, Newcrest arrived. It's a new world with 15 empty lots ready for you to fill with whichever houses and buildings you choose. It's cool to have a blank canvas that you can build from scratch. There's also a new Custom Room tool and a Welcome Wagon from new neighbours.

On 9 July, an update brought half walls, locked doors, doors for men and doors for women (called King's and Queen's Doors).

On 6 August, brought dishwashers into the mix.

In October, The Sims got more jealous thanks to an update to reactions, and in December of 2015, The Sims 4 was updated to include bigger reactions to fire and death.

On 4 February 2016, The Sims celebrated its 16th birthday. To celebrate, EA released an update with new posters and decorations, the Grilled Cheese from The Sims 2, the Kleptomaniac trait from The Sims 3 and a new non-playable character - the Gardener.

On 21 April 2016, EA introduced the Tragic Clown, which makes your Sims really sad so watch out for him!

It looks like we could be getting a free and quite significant update every month, which should keep things exciting!

See: Games reviews

The Sims 4 new features: Sims 3 vs Sims 4

The developers have redesigned the Create a Sim studio in The Sims 4 to let you completely customise the look of your Sim by clicking and dragging directly on the Sim's body, rather than using the sliders found in The Sims 3. We've not tried it yet, but we imagine this is going to make creating a Sim a whole lot more enjoyable and less frustrating.

There's also a new Styled Looks feature for those of you who want to create Sims quickly, offering up a range of pre-set outfits and styles to choose from.

"Create and control the most intelligent and relatable Sims ever with new intuitive design tools," EA explains on it’s The Sims website. "Customise your Sims' appearances, personalities, aspirations, walk styles and even their relationship to others.

The Build Mode improvements mean changing the size and shape of rooms will be less of a headache – you can click and drag them to whatever shape and size you want, just like you did when you created your Sims. You can also simply pick up a room and move it elsewhere.

Other new features include the new use of emotions in The Sims 4, which are designed to make more interesting storylines for your Sims, and the new interactions that'll stem from these emotions.

"Play with life like never before in The Sims 4," The Sims 4 says on its website. "The choices you make influence your Sims and everyone and everything around them. These moments create delightful and exciting results throughout gameplay."

You can personalise your Sims' appearances, fashion, walk-style and voices, and give them uniques personalities that are defined by their traits, aspirations and skills.

"You control the mind, body and now the heart of your Sims," reads EA's website. "For the first time, you control your Sims emotions. The Sims you create are full of life defined by their unique personalities and their emotions."

"Emotions give you new choices that impact your Sim and shape their stories in The Sims 4. Control how your Sims respond to other Sims, objects and moments in the game."

There's also an improved genetics system too, as well as new multitasking capabilities and advanced party options. You can find out more about these new systems on The Sims blog.

Another thing we're pleased to hear but also a little dubious about is the system requirements for The Sims 4. The Sims is notorious for being glitch and crashing (normally when you haven't saved in ages), but EA says its working to improve this with The Sims 4.

The Sims 4 producer Ryan Vaughn has said that a new "SmartSim" technology powering game means that players on lower-end machines will have a better experience on The Sims 4 than they did with The Sims 3.

"We know that our players have a wide range of different PC specs. We ant to make sure that somebody playing on a lower end machine has just as great an experience as somebody on a higher-end machine," he said. "Right now, we're doing a lot of work to optimise the game's performance, cut down on loading screens and make sure everything still looks as beautiful, and the Sims feel as vibrant and that your gameplay is just as much fun regardless of what spec you're playing on."

A new world called WIllow Creek launched with The Sims 4, which includes new, vibrant characters, too.

There are some elements of The Sims 3 that are missing from The Sims 4, though. There's no 'Toddler' life stage (at least at the moment, but it could be added in an update like swimming pools were earlier this year), and there's no open world. Instead, the neighborhood is separated by loading screens.

The Sims 4 trailer

The Sims 4 screenshots

 The Sims 4 screenshot

The Sims 4 screenshot 

The Sims 4 screenshot

The Sims 4 screenshot

The Sims 4 screenshot

The Sims 4 screenshot

The Sims 4 screenshot

The Sims 4 screenshot

The Sims 4 screenshot

The Sims 4 screenshot