SimCity Social is now out of beta and live on Facebook, as a free-to-play version of the virtual city-building video game that spawned a Sim empire. "SimCity Social will entice a new generation of urban planners with its easy-to-use tools that allow anyone to expand and grow their own unique sprawling metropolises and watch as it comes to life in fun and unexpected ways," commented Jami Laes, VP of Global Studios for Playfish, which collaborated with Maxis to make it happen.
In a sly swipe at Zynga's FarmVille, SimCity Social's promo (above) positions it as "More City, Less Ville." The Facebook version is non-linear and cities evolve as a result of player-driven choices that can include friendly relationships with other cities or intense rivalries, conducted via a dynamic friend and foe system.
Players address real global challenges such as climate change, crime, pollution, the search for renewable resources and natural disasters, going far beyond visiting friends' cities or using them merely as resources to complete tasks.
“SimCity Social is about playing with your friends. Whether you do that with kindness by helping put out a fire or through mischievous acts like helping a criminal escape, the decisions you make with your friends will determine how the story of your cities plays out,” comments Laes.
Dunkin' Donuts will be integrated into SimCity Social at launch and players can gift Coffee Boosts and Donut Boosts, unrolling new features and gifting campaigns throughout the year on the Dunkin' Donuts Facebook page.
SimCity fans can visit Facebook.com/simcitysocial to "Like" the game joining the 800,000+ fans who've already signed up, and by doing so gain access to free in-game exclusive content.
One caveat: “While SimCity Social is very cool, and a really fun game to play, it falls into the trap that other Facebook games fall into. Unless you have a ton of friends playing or are willing to add a ton of strangers, you cannot progress very far into the game,” notes WebProNews. “If you do decide to add a ton of strangers, then your wall is constantly spammed with SimCity Social posts that get real annoying real fast. This is the problem with these games in the first place. It is almost as if Facebook needs to figure out a way to get around this so people will actually play.”
The game supports the recently announced SimCity for the PC set to launch in February. But most importantly, the game offers a real-time model for collaboration or competition for game players worldwide.