If you plan on overtaxing your citizens before sending in a tornado to wreck up the downtown shopping district of your homemade metropolis, better make sure your Internet connection is good and strong: The new SimCity requires a full-time online connection to play.
Speaking with website Joystiq, Maxis’ Stone Librande said that anyone playing the fifth proper SimCity will need to be logged into Electronic Arts’ digital game store and network Origin. They can buy the game from other outlets—EA hasn’t said specifically if they’ll sell the game through Steam, Amazon, or other digital storefronts—but they have to be on Origin to play. It would seem that even if you have carte blanche to make any city you like, the digital country it’s founded in is restricted.
The persistent Web connection is, according to Librande, essential because of the game’s emphasis on regional multiplayer and a global Sim economy based on individual players’ cities. Good! A modern SimCity should be a social endeavor. Still, it’s troubling that the game’s mobility will be limited. Given the time investment involved in classic SimCity games, being able to play the new game on laptops while travelling seems ideal.
EA and Maxis’ decision couldn’t possibly be an anti-piracy measure or an attempt to increase Origin’s membership. Never.
As of this writing, we’ve reached out to EA and Maxis for elaboration on this decision, but we have yet to hear back. If and when we receive a response, this article will be updated to reflect that response.