Is an offline mode truly possible for SimCity? Signs point to "Yes"

Players of the recently released revamped SimCity franchise have been confronted with the fact that the game will not work, at least in its current form, without connecting to the servers of developer Maxis and publisher Electronic Arts. When asked if an offline mode could be put into the urban simulation game, Maxis reps have stated that this would not be possible due to the game supposedly needing multiplayer online servers in order to work.

Now a new report on Rock Paper Shotgun has cast some major doubts on those statements. The story, which quotes an unnamed Maxis team member, stated that the game does connect to servers for features such as saving games to the cloud. However, the unnamed source added, "But for the game itself? No, they’re not doing anything. I have no idea why they’re claiming otherwise."

So just how hard would it really be to add a true offline single player experience to SimCity? The unnamed Maxis employee claims, "It wouldn’t take very much engineering to give you a limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff." In other words, it's very possible. The big question: Why are EA and Maxis claiming that this would not be possible and, more importantly, why are they not working on such an update for SimCity gamers who don't want to connect to the Internet?

Source: Rock Paper Shotgun | Image via EA

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EA just wants full control of the game to make you buy
overpriced DLC and then they will shut the server when the next title
is finished. Eventually, EA will turn all old single player offline
game to online! Don't you agree?

"limited single-player game without all the nifty region stuff" is a key point here here. With the current design they could probably trivially provide a single-city single-player game, but single cities are not what the new SimCity is about. Without the ability to share resources between cities the game feels broken and weird. You get that experience right now when the servers are too overloaded to process inter-city connections within a region.

Not saying that's a good thing, but if they just made it so the current game could be played offline with a single city, that wouldn't give you a very fun experience.

There's nothing stopping them from doing the inter-city stuff on the client, the only reason it's done on the server (under the current model) is because the server has the saves of every city in the region (to support other players), even if the region is private with just one person playing.

When I read about the servers doing calculations I have to ask myself why the game isn't turned based then? or why it works when no server connection is present.
The delay in offloading the calculations and the reply to your computer + the procesing time to handle all this would mean that the game surely would need to run in a turn based fashion?
If you are playing it realtime on their servers like any mmo then why can you keep playing when disconnected?

Region seems to update every 10-30minutes. caching the then current stats and using them. losing server for a while isn't a problem, if you stay disconnected long enough, you will be forced to quit SimCity. Might've changed a bit in recent 1-2 updates though. As I haven't experienced it since they started expanding servers.

sanke1 said,

Lies from a company? Maxis and EA have lost all respect from me.
In the current form for a region to work it needs server access.
Yes this can be changed to single player and I truly hope they will do so.
But I am starting to lose faith in MAXIS the way this is going.
Although the access to the test server is neat though. don't have to scroll through thousands of regions already full with people
I can understand companies trying to counter piracy, and its really hard to do this in a clean and undisturbing way. We can all say what we want, but piracy is hurting companies. To much people have the attitude of 'why buy if you can get it for free'. I don't think I know anyone in person that isn't a regular piratebay visitor.

Yup exactly. Its because of the DRM. That's why they don't want to allow it to work offline. They are just a bunch of liars and used the excuse that it wouldn't be possible and that "significant calculations are offloaded to the cloud" as a cop-out. Making it seem like its not possible (because of offloaded calculations) rather than not wanting to make it offline is easier for people to accept.

DRM that's why. there's no other explanation.

DRM only hurts the paying customer. i guarantee that hackers will find a way to crack it anyway and you'll be able to play on a fake local server or there will be pirate servers like there are with WOW

DRM does not ONLY hurt the paying customer. That's misleading and you know it. As a high level concept, there's nothing inherently wrong with DRM. Even here, DRM itself is not the culprit when it comes to the launch problems with SimCity. It's just a punching bag for everyone's rage, and DRM haters *love* the fact that the game had launch problems because it lets them pretend none of this would've happened without it.

it really wouldn't have though. there are plenty of ways the could have done things without forcing an always online connection to play the game

there was a time where multiplayer was an OPTION