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"The Sims" put to online test

Leading games publisher Electronic Arts announced it will begin public testing soon of "The Sims Online," the online version of the hit PC game "The Sims." Set to go live late this year, "The Sims Online" will allow hundreds of players at a time to interact with each other in detailed environments inspired by the original life-simulation game.

EA and industry observers are looking at "The Sims Online" as a breakthrough title that could greatly expand the audience for subscription-based online gaming. Details and sign-up information for the test phase are available on the game's Web site.