I have bought the Sims 3 (and some expansions) discs from GameStop, and I'd like to buy the Sims 3 Seasons from Steam.

However Steam won't let me download the game because I don't have the Sims 3 installed on Steam.

Is there any way I could install the Sims 3 onto Steam without rebuying it?

  • You might be able to activate the game on Origin, EA's version of Steam. If so then you can buy the expansion directly from EA through Origin.
    – user86571
    Aug 17, 2015 at 1:51

2 Answers 2


According to the list of supported retail games on Steam, you can not activate The Sims 3 with Steam, if you have purchased it from a retail store.

Some games are accepted, some games are not. As it is, I have found a few forum posts, complaining about how unreliable Sims 3 keys can be, while finding sources for this answer. One user reported not needing a key to play, but not being able to activate their key with the EA, themselves. This may have something to do with it; Valve would be hesitant to honour a CD key where even the developers appear to have issues identifying legitimacy.

This is also confirmed on the Steam forums, and on Yahoo! Answers.


This feature that you're looking for is available within Steam.

However it's only for some games and unfortunately The Sims 3 is not one of them.

So there is no way to do what you are trying to do.

Your only options are to;

  • Buy the game again through Steam
  • Continue buying them from GameStop (or another retail shop)
  • Generally speaking it only works with retail boxed games that include a Steam key needed to activate the game on Steam in order to play it. So if you have retail boxed copy of a game that you can play without Steam, you probably can't add it to your Steam library without buying a second copy.
    – user86571
    Aug 17, 2015 at 1:57
  • @RossRidge, this is not true. There are many games that do not need Steam to play. This is why they have a list of compatible retail games. I personally have quite a few games that I activated with Steam years after my original purchase and play through. In my experience, retail games that still require Steam are much rarer then games that simply support it.
    – user106385
    Aug 17, 2015 at 3:08
  • @Timelord64 Most of the games on the list are Steam only games. There are a number of exceptions, but the fact that many of the key formats are the same is not a coincidence. They're the format used by Steam keys.
    – user86571
    Aug 17, 2015 at 4:02
  • @Ross Ridge, most, but not all.
    – user106385
    Aug 17, 2015 at 4:11
  • @Timelord64 I never said all.
    – user86571
    Aug 17, 2015 at 4:15

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