The Sims 4 is ditching 32-bit support for good in December

The Sims 4 Highschool Years - two teen sims stand beside their lockers together
(Image credit: Electronic Arts)

The Sims 4: Legacy Edition, a 32-bit version of Electronic Arts' long-running life game that launched in 2019, is going away for good in December, meaning that  players on older operating systems are going to have to either upgrade, or find something else to play.

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The Sims 4 - A woman makes an "ah hah!" face while holding a finger in the air.

(Image credit: Maxis, Electronic Arts)

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The Legacy Edition of The Sims 4 was released three years ago as a sort of holdover for people on older systems: EA was ending Sims 4 support for 32-bit operating systems, but offered the Legacy Edition as a free download for anyone who owned the full version of the game. It was compatible with existing saves, so players could continue along with their Sim-lives uninterrupted, but EA warned that it would have limited functionality—no gallery, game banners, or social interactions—and would not get any future updates or fixes, or be compatible with any future expansions or content packs. It was basically an extended notice that time moves forward, technology changes, and those who don't move with it will eventually be left behind.

That "eventually" is now just a few weeks away. EA has announced that The Sims 4: Legacy Edition will no longer be available as of December 12. 

"Before, players could download The Sims 4: Legacy Edition and would be able to play on these operating systems with some limitations," EA's help site says. "Now, we’re saying goodbye to Legacy Edition, so this option is no longer available."

To play The Sims 4 after December 12, you'll need to either upgrade to a 64-bit version of Windows, or get yourself some new hardware with a 64-bit OS already installed. If you happen to be running a Mac, you're in basically the same boat except you'll need to ensure you're using a Metal macOS version of El Capitan or above. No, I am not making that up, that's just Apple for you. The good news is that Legacy Edition saves will be compatible with the current full version of the game, you'll just need to move them over:

  • Go to your Documents.
  • Open Electronic Arts.
  • Copy the folder titled The Sims 4 Legacy Edition.
  • Transfer the file to the same folder (Documents/Electronic Arts) on your new computer, and change the title to The Sims 4.
  • Launch the game.

One point that isn't made clear in the announcement is how the change will impact people who already have The Sims 4: Legacy Edition installed. My assumption is that it will continue ticking over as usual, but the announcement states that players with 32-bit OSes will need to upgrade "to continue playing The Sims 4," pretty strongly implying that even existing owners will also have to make the move. I've reached out to EA for clarification and will update if I receive a reply.

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Either way, the change isn't likely to leave too many players out in the cold. The latest Steam Hardware and Software Survey (the most immediately accessible source of information we have for this sort of thing) indicates that more than 96% of users are running some version of Windows, and of them, more than 96% are 64-bit. While Mac operating systems account for a tiny slice of the overall pie, it's 64-bit virtually across the board. If you're not running a 64-bit OS by now, hey, it's time to make the move.

It's not entirely surprising that The Sims 4 is fully ditching 32-bit support now. EA announced in October that Origin is being phased out in favor of the colorfully-named (not really) EA App, which also requires a 64-bit OS.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.