The Sims 4 is going free to play

The Sims 4 remains one of the best life simulation games out there, bolstered by a steady stream of expansion packs and other bundles. Soon, even more people will get to experience it. On Wednesday, Electronic Arts and Maxis announced that The Sims 4’s base game will be free to play. Players on Mac, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows PC, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X will be able to download the game for free starting on Oct. 18.

If you’ve already purchased the base game, you’ll receive a small bonus — players who have purchased The Sims 4 by Oct. 17 will receive the Desert Luxe Kit, which launches Wednesday and adds new furniture items to the in-game catalog based off the natural landscape of the southwestern desert.

EA released The Sims 4 in 2014; since then, developer Maxis has released a host of expansions to the game that add elements like the changing of the seasons, the ability to climb the Hollywood ladder of fame, sending Sims to high school or university, creating supernatural Sims like vampires and werewolves, or simply hanging out at a cozy cottage. Maxis has also patched the game with free updates; a July patch added wants, fears, body hair, and more storytelling options for Sims in your neighborhood.

Given The Sims 4’s age, fans are wondering about whether the game is reaching the end of its natural lifespan, and if The Sims 5 is on the way. In the free-to-play announcement, Maxis said that “the team is more dedicated than ever to developing new and meaningful experiences for players, and will continue to develop and release packs, Kits and Sims Delivery Express drops into the foreseeable future.”

EA said that Sims players can find out more about “what’s in the works” for the franchise on Oct. 18, during a Behind The Sims Summit livestream. That stream will air on The Sims YouTube and Twitch channels.

The Sims 4 is currently available to purchase for $19.99, and is included as part of an EA Play subscription on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms. EA previously offered The Sims 4 as a free download with a PlayStation Plus subscription. The publisher also has a free-to-play mobile game based on The Sims called The Sims FreePlay, which was originally released in 2011 and is still supported.