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So I've got a Mac and a copy of Civilization V, I got from Mac App store years ago for free. A friend of mine has got a Windows machine with Civilization V running from Steam. We want to play online.

When I launch multiplayer, I only have LAN options. From quick googling it seems like the only way to play online is using Steam. I've found a way to add the 3d party game (mine) onto my Steam, but it didn't seem to help much.

Is the only option for me to play online is to purchase the game (again) from Steam?

One more question: does it have to be exactly the same version of the game (he's got a few addons which I don't have).

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Unfortunately, since macOS Catalina released, crossplay between Windows and Mac is no longer possible.

Due to Apple's changing ecosystem with macOS Catalina, we updated Civilization V to continue to work on modern systems. Unfortunately, these changes mean crossplay between macOS and Windows will no longer be compatible.

We do our best to provide the best gameplay experience on all platforms and given the option between retiring Sid Meier's Civilization V on Mac or updating the game to 64-bit while disabling crossplay, we opted for the latter.

[Source]

If you owned the Steam version, you could obtain legacy access, which will downgrade the game to the old 32 bit version [Confirmed to work with version 1.0.3.279]. Unfortunately, there is no such option for the Apple App Store. If you happen to have a backup of an old version of the game (such as with Time Machine), you could try and replace the new version with the old one.

Downgrading the game is not recommended, since there is no way to ensure both macOS and Windows PCs end up with the same version of the game. Crossplay only works when both games are of the same version.

If you use macOS Catalina, the 32 bit version also won't work. In order to play, you'll need to keep a copy of macOS Mojave or older.


Without access to the 32 bit version of the game, your only options at this point are to:

  • Buy the Steam version of Civ 5 and either:
    • obtain legacy access
    • or play on Windows using Boot Camp,
  • or move on to Civ 6 instead. There is no guarantee Civ 6 will fare any better in the future, though.

In either case, you'll need to buy another game.

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