Video games publisher Electronic Arts set a launch date of February 20, 2009 for the latest installment of its biggest-selling franchise, the Sims, on Wednesday.
The firm is jostling for top spot in the global gaming industry with Activision Blizzard and had previously said the Sims 3 would appear some time in early 2009.
In a news conference at Europe's biggest video games fair in Leipzig, Electronic Arts said the new version of the Sims would allow players greater control over the personality of the characters whose lives they control.
In the Sims players set everything from the design of a character's apartment through to career goals and romantic life.
Around 100 million copies have been sold since the first version was launched in 2000, with the game a hit among more casual players who would not play games from more traditional genres.