At long last, SimCity can be played offline

EA has released SimCity Update 10, a new patch for the 2013 reboot of their popular city-building strategy game franchise. Update 10 finally brings offline play to the game, which heretofore has required a live Internet connection in order to work. The initial announcement came from the SimCity forums.

SimCity arrived on PCs — and later on Macs — in 2013 with a host of enhancements, updates and changes to earlier game versions, designed to bring the popular franchise into the modern age. One of the most controversial of those changes was a reliance on a persistent online connection.

EA claimed that this was necessary to keep the complex calculations involved in the city simulation in sync, and made online play with other SimCity players a key part of gameplay as well, but gamers used to being able to play SimCity on their own computers as a single-player game were put off by the change; soon the claim arose that EA and Maxis implemented this change as a digital rights management scheme to help reduce piracy.

Later Maxis reversed itself and said that a future update would implement offline play, and that's Update 10, which is available now. The change for offline play took six months to develop because of the major redevelopment to the game, according to Simon Fox, the game's lead engineer. In a lengthy post to the SimCity web site in January, Fox explained what it took to get SimCity working offline.

Other changes have been implemented as well - a new Save As a Copy feature has been added, so you can make copies of your regions at multiple save points; autosave cane be disabled in single player mode; performance optimizations have been made, and Friends Search now uses the friend search feature built into Origin, EA's multiplayer gaming system.

Peter Cohen