updated 04:15 pm EDT, Sun October 6, 2013
EA listening to users, may provide offline mode
A post from Electronic Arts last week opens the possibility that the gaming giant will soon grant fan requests to build an offline mode into Sim City. The State of Sim City post from last week was a response to continuing requests to users for EA to remove the requirement that its hit game be played with a persistent Internet connection in order to avoid piracy. That requirement resulted in a disastrous launch for the game, as EA's servers were overwhelmed by millions of gamers simultaneously logging in.
The post is still quite non-committal on the issue of offline gaming, but it is perhaps the most encouraging statement EA has given on the issue to date. According to the post, EA has a team "specifically focused on exploring the possibility of an offline mode," but it also notes that it cannot "make any promises on when we will have more information."
The online requirement angered many fans of the long-running simulation series, with some complaining that EA was treating its customers like criminals. That outcry did nothing to sway the game company, though, and EA went forward with its plans. The troubled launch seemed to prove many critics right, as purchasers of the game were unable to even play it due to server issues. Many subsequently began demanding refunds.
Adding to the public relations fiasco, the game was cracked shortly after its release, meaning those who wanted to pirate the game could do so and thus circumvent EA's online requirement.
EA issued a patch for Sim City in late April, one aimed at addressing the server issues. That patch, though, introduced a slew of new problems, including city modeling issues, unusable old cities, and traffic pathing problems.
The game's issues were largely smoothed out by the time it launched on the Mac platform, but much of the public image data had been done already. In the time since the initial release, EA has pushed out seven updates to add features and improve functionality.
The post also notes that EA is looking at realizing other player requests for future Sim City updates. In addition to an offline mode, the firm is exploring the possibility of tools to raise and lower roads and the option to have larger city maps.