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You'll soon be able to play The Sims 4 for free

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The Sims 4 is a financial monster of a game to get into, but it looks like EA is trying to make the entry point a little smoother. The publisher has just revealed (opens in new tab) that the base game is shedding its price tag and going free-to-play from October 18.

Hours before the official announcement word had already been going around—the game's Origin store page was already displaying a big ol' banner proclaiming "The Sims 4 will be free to play starting October 18." Instant Gaming (opens in new tab) also managed to get its hands on two screenshots advertising that the base game was free, which have been circulating on Twitter for most of the day.

It's worth emphasising that it is just the base game that's becoming free—something that has pretty regularly gone on sale for around $5 to $10 for the last few years now and received a permanent price cut back in April. The main moneymaker continues to lie in The Sims 4's countless expansion packs, but this is also the first time I can recall that EA has made any of its Sims games free while it was still current. Those who've already given their cold hard cash away for the base game will receive the Desert Luxe Kit for free which is a nice touch, but if you already own that too then you won't be entitled to any additional goodies. That's valid up until October 17, so if for any reason you feel spurred to buy the base game, now's the time to do it.

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I can't help but speculate on why EA is actually doing this, especially when the base game is already so consistently cheap. It definitely feels like a great way to lure over curious simmers to try out the game, realise how many cool gameplay mechanics are locked behind expansions and then hope they drop a few bucks on them. Hell, it's basically how I ended up dropping heaps of money on the game. It could also spell a transition towards a more live-service model, drip-feeding content on a more seasonal basis. My copium would like to think that it means a Sims 5 (opens in new tab)announcement is imminent. After all, The Sims 4 is the longest-running entry in the series, celebrating its eighth anniversary earlier this month. There's been a noticeable winding down on larger packs as of late and with the base game so old by now, an upcoming sequel announcement just makes sense.

Regardless of the reasoning behind it, I'm sure we'll find out soon enough with a stream titled Behind The Sims Summit also happening on October 18. EA says it'll be "sharing more about what's in the works" for the game. That stream will be happening at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET / 6 PM BST over on The Sims YouTube (opens in new tab) and Twitch. (opens in new tab)

A fresh writer in the industry, Mollie has been taken under PC Gamer's RGB-laden wing, making sure she doesn't get up to too much mischief on the site. She's not quite sure what a Command & Conquer is, but she can rattle on for hours about all the obscure rhythm games and strange MMOs from the 2000s. She's been cooking up all manner of news, previews and features while she's been here, but especially enjoys when she gets to write about Final Fantasy, Persona, The Sims, and whatever other game she's currently hopelessly fixated on. There's a good chance she's boring another PC Gamer writer about her latest obsession as we speak.