Addressing fan concerns regarding SimCity's always-on DRM in a blog entry on the SimCity website, Maxis vice president Lucy Bradshaw said "creating a connected experience has always been a goal" for the game.
She further explained that some of SimCity's simulation aspects must be rendered on EA's servers for the game to run. Bradshaw said a "massive amount of computing" goes into this, and the game's Glassbox engine can only achieve these tasks through a constant Internet connection.
"You’re always connected to the neighbors in your region so while you play, data from your city interacts with our servers, and we run the simulation at a regional scale," she said.
More specifically, trading between cities and simulation effects like pollution and crime, are processed on EA's servers and then data is sent back to players' cities on their local PC. "Every city in the region is updated every three minutes, which keeps the overall region in sync and makes your decisions in your city relevant to any changes that have taken place in the region," she said.
In addition to technical necessesities, Bradshaw said SimCity requiring a constant Internet connection is in the best interest of "fun." She explained that features like leaderboards and challenges would not be possible without being online.
SimCity is currently in development at EA Maxis. It is due out on Mac and PC March 5, 2013. For more, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.