News from the video game industry for the week of March 2
Every Sunday, MacNN and Electronista rounds out the week by bundling together some notable stories from the world of gaming. In the same week as GDC's various hardware and software development announcements, EA shuttered the spiritual home of The Sims and SimCity, Amazon reveals it is porting games from its Fire devices to iOS, and Epic Games shows off what could be coming in its openly-developed Unreal Tournament reboot.
Patch to bring offline mode, few other improvements
Despite prior protestations to the contrary, Maxis and EA's city construction kit Sim City will see a patch for offline play. In an official blog post today, Maxis announced that the Windows version will have the online-only requirement purged in Update 10 of the embattled title. It it not clear when the same functionality will be extended to the OS X version of the game.
Maxis Sim City server problems continue, EA offers free game
Electronic Arts and Maxis launched the newest iteration in the venerable Sim City series earlier this week. While initially praised for its accomplishments and integration with other players by previewing media, the game was marred by monumental server and connectivity issues. Since launch, Electronic Arts claims to have brought on 150 percent more server capacity, as well as shutting down some in-game functions to lighten the server load, but the problems persist. Electronic Arts is offering a free title to people who register the game prior to March 18. The issue, and a similar issue with Diablo 3 emphasize a disturbing trend in gaming -- the requirement to log into remote servers like EA's Origin service to play the game, even in single-player.
Dell Mini 3 confirmed for Brazil, China
Dell today formally entered the smartphone race by launching the Mini 3. The full-touchscreen phone depends on a customized version of Android and will have different features based on the region. While most details aren't available, the China Mobile version will be limited to EDGE data but use the government-supported OPhone interface and app store. Other countries should get localized 3G and should also have Wi-Fi as well.