Electronic Arts officially launched SimCity Social today, the latest Facebook iteration of the seminal societal simulation game. EA has Zynga’s market-dominating CityVille squarely in its sights, as signaled by its description of SimCity Social as “the real social city-building simulation” [emphasis is EA’s].

As with EA’s The Sims Social, there will be sponsored content, starting with Dunkin’ Donuts – players can send branded boosts, which add to their friend’s store of needed “energy.” EA said additional sponsored bonuses will be added throughout the year.

Players can choose to be helpful or evil as they deal with unforeseen issues like fires, crime and pollution in addition to everyday urban responsibilities and each decision affects how their city evolves. Players also can pact with other players to their mutual benefit or to gang up on others.

SimCity Social is the work of EA’s Maxis and Playfish game studios, based on the seminal franchise initially designed by Will Wright.

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,” said Jami Laes, vice president of Global Studios for Playfish. “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.”

EA will be releasing its next boxed-product iteration of the best-selling franchise, a refreshed take on SimCity for PC, in February 2013. It introduces a new gameplay element, because players’ decisions will extend beyond their city limits to address issues like climate change, the search for renewable resources and natural disasters.

Related links:

SimCity Socialpress release

SimCity SocialFacebook page

Venture Beat – EA goes after CityVille with today’s launch of SimCity Social