EA have announced that a SimCity beta test will be running from January 25-28. Or rather, a "beta" test - with heavy emphasis on the quotation marks. More accurately, this is an exclusive time-limited demo, with budding city planners being given a one-hour slice of the game to play.
The sign up page for this micro-beta is now live , and applications are being taken through to January 21st.
According to Maxis' General Manager and Senior VP, Lucy Bradshaw, the tiny test is designed to "help the team improve the live service aspects of SimCity to ensure a smooth and user-friendly experience at launch." Hopefully it will prevent any always-online disasters from striking the game as new players move in.
EA confirm that you will be able to play the included hour "multiple times during the beta period." The full game will release on March 8th.