It's been a long time since SimCity has seen a new numbered release. The latest in the franchise, SimCity Societies, almost completely forgoes the city aspect to forge into new territory for the series. Monte Cristo has taken up the mantle of the city simulation, and began work on the Cities series, which as seen two releases. The first is City Life, which was hammered for lack of content and general poor quality. The second is the recently released Cities XL, which attempts to revolutionize the city simulation genre by including an MMO-styled component. While ambitious and interesting, Cities XL still falls short of the depth and ease of Maxis' defining series, which is a shame, because it has a lot of potential that was simply overlooked or neglected.
Cities XL's basic concept is simple: you must design a profitable city that will bring people and vitalize commerce. You do this by placing various services around the town, providing different measures of housing, and building up several different kinds of industry. Once your city really begins to grow, you will begin to gain more money through taxes and trade, which will let you expand. Repeat as necessary until you get bored, then wipe the slate clean and move on. The basic building structure of a city is house, then industry, then services to protect citizens, with things such as monuments, tourism-related activities, and other various distractions breaking up the monotony.