Going Up: SimCity Timed Demo Released


I dream of a city: dense, apartment blocks and tight terraces, lots of parks, even more trees, great public transport, by a river or lake with forest nearby. I skipped last year’s SimCity for obvious reasons but would like to build this dream in it, coo and aah as it bursts into an unconvincing simulation of life, then probably stop after, say, four hours.

Well gosh golly, as luck would have it that’s exactly how long the newly-released demo offers.

EA yesterday released a demo for the city-building sim that’s limited to four hours, with the timer ticking down as long as you’re playing. It’s singleplayer-only, without multiplayer bits like shared regions, and is limited to two of the full game’s dozen-odd regions, the coastal Cape Trinity and tropical island Reflection Atoll. (Boooo! Viridian Woods looks like just what I want.) And it’s only got two save slots, though saves carry over the full version if you do buy it.

But that’s fine, it’s fine. From what people scream on this here Internet, this is plenty of time to mess about and have a little fun, then stop before the cracks become too frustrating. I can treat the demo as its own thing, a short and pleasant experience which I COMPLETE and WIN after four hours. If I don’t feel the problems that I’m told become more pronounced over time, maybe the demo is better than the full game.


  1. Stellar Duck says:

    I was actually going to play this to see how it is after all the drama but I sort of accidentally bought Elite: Dangerous last night and between that and DCS A-10c, SimCity 5 doesn’t seem all that riveting.

    It still looks good though and this is a step in the right direction I’d say. It just comes so late!

    I was curious about the game before release but the DRM kept me away and when they relented on that, impossible though it was to remove, I simply didn’t care any more.

    I wonder, is there a time window in which I must play a game or I lose interest? Am I that fickle? I probably am.

    • JustAPigeon says:

      Don’t worry about it too much, SimCity 5 is a rubbish game.

      Admittedly it’s entertaining for a few hours until you realise just how little Sim is going on in your miniscule City.

      • Schaap says:

        I think it’s worthwile to pick up for a few quid in a sale, since there is definitely a good 10 or 15 hours of fun to be had. I went in with extremely low expectations and the game managed to live up to them.

    • mtomto says:

      Don’t worry – SimCity sucks. It’s a fake simulation in a very small space. The map size will probably be full after the 2 or 3 hours of the demo…

      Citizens does not live in a house like one would think. The houses are just buckets that can be filled. People move around sleeping new places all the time… depending on where they work etc…. not what we were promised. Back before launch, you almost thought Maxis had developed SkyNet 2.0 – hype.

      Oh! There is no terraforming… sigh.

      Really hope people stay away from this turd of a game.

  2. battles_atlas says:

    SimCity is wonderful for a good ten hours I would say. Then the curtain fails down and you see the guy at the back pulling the strings.

  3. Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

    Are you sure it won’t give my computer syphilis?

    • RedViv says:

      Thanks to the modding possibilities, they community can vaccinate any player now! Can’t do anything about the minor nuisances of hearing a chanting of devils in the teeth on passing 616 population, but other than that it’s fine!

      To show what is actually possible now with mods: How about this?

      • jonfitt says:

        Well now, that looks interesting. What combination of mods is that?

      • SanguineAngel says:

        ditto jonfitt’s question.

        It’s a nice shot and looks like one big map and a single city but am I right in thinking you’re still restricted to playing in the allocated zones?

      • RedViv says:

        You are still restricted to the zones, but with this one they get INCREDIBLY big. Which leads to all sorts of problems when only using the standard game tools, but thankfully other mods fill that in as well, road extensions beyond the regular map, ploppable buildings, and so on. The grand Skye Storme has put together a mod pack with the most useful ones, available here, with tutorials and an ongoing Let’s Play on his YT channel.

      • 0positivo says:

        Hold on Hold on hold on


        Just like the above posters, please share how you made your game into that!

        • bloodystump says:

          It’s not something that possible via modding at all. From Reddit:
          link to reddit.com

          EDIT: To be fair, the indivicual “cities” have had their boundaries extended via a mod (mentioned in that thread)

          • RedViv says:

            Did you mean to say it is impossible? That’s not the case. You merely can’t make this detailed a screenshot without merging separate high-res screens made with the console commands in the game.

            I don’t know why, but the post I wrote on which mods to use is still awaiting moderation approval…

  4. Bradamantium says:

    My heart hurts every time I see one of these lovely tilt-shifted-to-hell-and-back pictures of the game and I remember how it’s just utterly not worth playing.

    Guess I can always look at everyone else’s tilt-shifted screenshots.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Anno 1404 has some lovely tilt shift going on. It’s also a good game.

      • eggheaded says:

        Sim City is rubbish, but Anno’s “Postcard View” doesn’t come close to its tilt-shift aesthetic

      • d32 says:

        But as per Steam page, Anno also “Incorporates 3rd-party DRM: TAGES™; 3 machine activation limit”

        • RedViv says:

          That’s no longer accurate. That stuff has been removed with patch 1.1.

  5. Wisq says:

    At the risk of being Captain Obvious here … isn’t this a bit late?

    Maybe I’m just spoiled by all the indie titles that are offering four-plus-hour demos before the game is released (or even half done), but I feel like I would be less surprised if they suddenly jumped us with a demo of the next SimCity installment, rather than releasing a demo for a year-old game. Isn’t that the point at which you start bringing people in via deep discount sales, not via demos?

    • MichaelGC says:

      Later this year a playable alpha will be released via the Origin version of Early Access, and then early next year they’ll do a Kickstarter.

    • Xocrates says:

      Thing is, there is almost no situation where it’s advantageous for a large developer to release a demo.

      Indies can use them to gain visibility, but EA? They’d be spending development time on a demo that could a) be shit and cost them sales, b) be good, but so’s the game so people would buy it anyway, or c) be good, but the game’s shit – which leads to people complaining about bait and switch.

      A demo now makes sense to try and grab people on the fence, while regaining some visibility for the game, which they could carry into the next game – which is not unlike what they did by giving away the Sims 2 when 4 is on the horizon.

      • HadToLogin says:

        Yup, you don’t spend 100 millions for TV ads to release demo that might scare people away.

      • hamburger_cheesedoodle says:

        Wish I could dig up the study (it had a graph and everything!) but the results were as follows:

        Assuming a game with no demo and no trailers:
        A game with just a demo sells slightly better, on average
        A game with a trailer and a demo sells a little better than a game with just a demo
        A game with just a trailer sells far, far better than a game that has a demo at all.

        So it turns out that the sales figures indeed show that people are more likely to buy the game if you do not release a demo, so long as you can make a trailer for it. Given the time and expense put into creating demos, I’m not surprised that there are so few of them these days.

  6. fish99 says:

    … but it looks so pretty.


  7. Tei says:

    …. eerk

  8. rpsKman says:

    “EA yesterday a demo”

    How long would be the download time for this anyway? I ain’t trying a crappy game that takes longer to DL than to play. What an abomination.

  9. HyenaGrin says:

    SimCity has the largest gap between how good I want it to be, and how bad it actually is, of any game I can recall. It is heartbreaking. I adored SimCity 4 and desperately wanted a worthy successor. And everything about it up until release was exciting. In my blind hope for a beautiful SimCity experience I even tentatively gave Maxis the benefit of the doubt about the postage stamp city sizes.

    It all makes the crash all the more painful.

    I should keep my ear to the ground for mods that fix the various problems I have with the game, but even that is kind of soul-crushing. Still, if they start popping up… I may dig in again.

  10. E_FD says:


    Buried in the fine print at the bottom of the page, and not listed in system requirements.

    No thanks.