From SC4 Encyclopaedia
Maxis is a game development company co-founded in 1987 by Will Wright, and now part of Electronic Arts (EA). Some of its best-known creations include the SimCity series, The Sims series, and Spore. Early in the company's history, Maxis also released a number of smaller simulation games, including SimAnt, SimIsle, SimTower, etc.
The company gained international popularity with the release of SimCity, the first installment in the SimCity series, in 1989. The game was well received, and Maxis released a sequel, SimCity 2000 (SC2K), in 1994. One of the expansions to SC2K was the SimCity Urban Renewal Kit (SCURK), which allowed players to design custom buildings and layout cities outside the game. Maxis released the next installment in the SimCity series, SimCity 3000 (SC3K) in 1999. The Building Architect Tool (BAT) for SC3K was released as an expansion to the game, and allowed players to design their own custom buildings. In 2003, SimCity 4 was released, followed by its Rush Hour expansion pack and its own BAT and other addons.
Maxis released The Sims in 2000, starting what would become a hugely successful series of games that focused on the individual Sims instead of the more macroscopic approach of earlier titles. The Sims 2 was released in 2004, and is loosely integrated with SimCity 4, however neither game is required to play the other. This game was also a hit, and spawned another sequel, The Sims 3, in 2009. However, by the development of TS3, EA had moved development of The Sims series into its own, new division, and did not directly include Maxis.
Following SimCity 4 and The Sims 2, Maxis' next major release was Spore, in 2008. Spore was highly acclaimed for its unusual concept - that of simulating life and evolution from single-cell organisms on up - however it was not as commercially successful as the SimCity and Sims series continued to be.
After a lengthy hiatus, EA revived Maxis for the development and release of the latest installment in the SimCity series, SimCity (2013), which was released in 2013.