[Update: Watch 10 minutes of SimCity beta gameplay before it disappears!]

With the release of the newest SimCity title quickly approaching, Maxis is ready to bring dedicated fans aboard early with a closed beta experience. The socially-based reboot of the SimCity franchise is due to come out in less than three months, but those selected to participate in the closed beta will have a short sneak peek next weekend.

During E3 2012, we got a chance to delve into the world that is SimCity, and the streets painted an impressive picture. With a plethora of new features including curved roads, streetcars, and building modules, the developers are looking to give the much-loved city simulator a fresh start. Cities will be greatly affected by their respective connections to neighboring cities, which can either turn out to a positive partnership or lead to negative side effects depending on if each neighbor turns out to be a good city manager.

The developers had a dramatic ‘Ask My Anything‘ session on Reddit last month, with many fans going on the offensive to express disappointment at the always online-requirement and lack of any offline game modes. The new title is built from the ground-up to be an online social experience – for better or worse – which will mean the beta is key for stress-testing their servers – and will be a good chance for players to judge if they want to purchase the title when it comes out.

SimCity Beta

The beta will run for three days, beginning January 25th and running to January 28th. Maxis will be accepting applications to enlist in the beta until 6PM PST today (January 20th), so gamers interested in applying in the small window should hurry over and do so here. If selected, fans will receive an email from Maxis before the 25th so they can download the title and be ready for the weekend.

What do you think of the reborn SimCity, Ranters? Do you like the social gaming idea, or would you prefer offline alternatives?

SimCity will be available for PC on March 5th in North America and March 8th in Europe.

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