Aspyr has confirmed Macworld's report (in the currently available January 2004 edition) that it will release a new expansion pack for The Sims, The Sims: Makin Magic.

Makin Magic is billed by Electronic Arts (original manufacturers of the series) as the last expansion pack for the title. But Sims fans need not worry – the company plans to release The Sims 2 in 2004. The latter title offers a host of new features for fans of the genre – most notably one in which characters age during the game, and gripping 3D graphics.

Makin Magic, which requires a registered version of The Sims be installed, brings a touch of Harry Potter to the simulated world. Sims characters can use supernatural powers to cast spells. Players who have spent time building-up vast collections of garden gnomes can add life to their creations – one ambulated, the gnomes will helpfully look after the gardens, watering plants and keeping them fresh.

To use magic, Sims characters must spend time gathering ingredients for specific spells. Be warned: spells can backfire against the hapless conjuror. Makin Magic offers 175 new items and a host of new characters. It also offers a new carnival-like (though slightly sinister) location, where characters can get immersed in magic duels and carnival rides.

The January 2004 edition of Macworld has more details regarding the new expansion pack, which is anticipated for release in late January.