The first new "SimCity" game in six years came out for PC this week to strong buzz, good reviews, and crippling launch problems. Simply called "SimCity" (although it is, in effect, "SimCity 5"), many players are having a very hard time playing the game. That's because there's no version of the new "SimCity" for Mac - yet. But EA and Maxis, the publisher and developer of "SimCity," have promised a "SimCity" Mac release date sometime in Spring 2013.
What does Spring 2013 mean, exactly? Unfortunately for the "SimCity" Mac release date, it doesn't mean next week. Spring doesn't officially start until March 20, 2013. And EA's fiscal first quarter doesn't start until April 1, 2013, so it's likely the game won't come out until April at the earliest.
Based on EA's fiscal quarter, the most likely "SimCity" Mac release date is between April 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013. This assumes that the Mac version is already well under way; ports don't take as long to produce as a full game, obviously, but they still require a substantial overhaul of the code. EA objects to even calling "SimCity" Mac a port, since the game will be a "full native version." That, according to EA, is why the Mac version didn't have day-and-date release in the first place: they need more time to "ensure that Mac fans will get a version worthy of their platform."
Other than the delay - and it's a very short one, compared to most major PC releases, which only rarely come out for Mac at all - the "SimCity" Mac release date will only bring good news. According to the EA official FAQ, the only difference between the Mac and PC versions is in distribution: "SimCity" Mac will be digital-exclusive and won't have a physical release, much like the SimCity Digital Deluxe Edition.
Even better, the Mac and PC versions will be able to play online in the same regions and worlds, without any artificial barriers (believe it or not, cross-platform play isn't always the case). So, after the "SimCity" Mac release date, there won't be any differences between the two versions.
As for deluxe editions: it's not clear whether it will be available on the "SimCity" Mac release date or if it will come out later, but EA/Maxis has also confirmed that SimCity Digital Deluxe Edition will also be available on Mac.
All told, having a slightly later "SimCity" Mac release date is not the end of the world. On the contrary, it's progress, and attests to the improvements in Mac gaming over the last several years. A full-featured Mac version, fully native, with both the regular and limited editions available, and cross-platform play with PC, all within - supposedly! - three months of the PC release is rare indeed. Only Blizzard Entertainment consistently one-ups this behavior with its tradition of day-and-date Mac and PC releases. To see such strong Mac support from Electronic Arts - hardly the most well-loved company in the industry - is a pleasant surprise indeed.
And maybe, by the time of the "SimCity" Mac release date, the connection problems "SimCity" is currently facing will die down and we'll actually be able to play it.
A man can dream.