Cities can not only specialize into any of the big businesses but also create their own roles.
Each city can specialize in one or more big businesses. The player becomes not only a mayor but also a business mogul.
- Big businesses are pre-determined by Maxis.
- The player's rank on the leaderboard is determined by the amount of profit from that business in the past 12 months.
- Main article: Mining
Cities specialized in mining extract ore and coal for profit. To extract the minerals, Coal and Ore Mines must be constructed directly above the corresponding deposits. Extracted ore and coal can be exported to the Global Market for immediate profit. Coal Power Plants burn coal to generate electricity. A Smelting Factory can be constructed to process ore and coal into more valuable resources: alloy and metal.
- Main article: Drilling
Cities specialized in Drilling extract and process oil for profit. To extract oil, Oil Well must be constructed above oil reservoirs. Extracted oil can be exported to the Global Market for immediate profit. Oil Power Plants burn oil to generate electricity. Oil Refinery can be constructed to process oil into more valuable resources: fuel and plastic.
- Main article: Electronics
Cities specialized in electronics manufacture processors, TV and computer from alloy and plastic. Processors, TV and computer can be exported to the Global Market for profit or used to construct various Great Works. Alloy and plastic can be manufactured from mining and drilling industries or imported from Global Market. Electronic city employs a large educated workforce.
- Main article: Trading
Cities specialized in trading buy and sell commodities on the Global Market to generate profit. The key to successful trading is importing resources when their prices are low and exporting them when their prices are high. A Trade Depot must be constructed before the player can start trading. A trade port can be constructed to accelerate the trading processes. A city specialized in trading will have many trucks and cargo ships moving goods into and out of the city.
- Main article: Gambling
A gambling city relies on casinos to attract tourists and generate revenue.
- Gambling specialization focuses on attracting tourists instead of the gathering resources or manufacturing goods.
Gambling city requires the construction of an adequate mass transit system to bring in tourists and avoid traffic congestion. Casinos attract criminals. A large police force is needed to combat the increase in crime.
- Main article: Education
High tech industries, services and structures require educated citizens as workers. Sims from one city can attend schools in nearby cities.
- Main article: Culture
Culture specialization focuses on attracting and keeping tourists.
- It is similar to Gambling specialization and can be paired with it.
- Only 3 Landmarks can be built in a city.
A power city constructs power plants to generate power for not only itself but also neighboring cities.
- Revenue is generated from selling power to nearby cities.