A code in SimCity forces the game to shut down if the user spends 20 consecutive minutes offline.
That's according to a user on NeoGAF, who claims that when this line is removed, offline play can be enjoyed indefinitely - though cities cannot be saved offline.
The discovery comes amid continued server problems for Maxis' new SimCity installment. While detractors claim the game's always-online nature is disguised DRM, Maxis insists that online connectivity is central to the game's appeal.
Meanwhile, in a new blog post Maxis' general manager Lucy Bradshaw likened the game to an MMO, and admits the studio could have built a subset offline mode. "We rejected that idea because it didn't fit with our vision. We did not focus on the 'single city in isolation' that we have delivered in past SimCities.
"We recognise that there are fans - people who loved the original SimCity - who want that. But we're also hearing from thousands of people who are playing across regions, trading, communicating and loving the Always-Connected functionality."
Bradshaw insists that the game's online focus "didn't come down as an order from corporate and it isn't a clandestine strategy to control players."
SimCity lead designer Stone Librande detailed pending improvements to the title's path-finding late last week.