Looking in the Steam store, the Sims DLC packs have a little banner similar to this:

Requires the base game The Sims™ 3 on Steam in order to play.

My girlfriend has Sims 3 and Sims Medieval through Origin, and was hoping to get the DLC through Steam to take advantage of their sales. Is there any way to get the Steam DLC to work with the Origin base games? I would assume the files are mostly the same and some combination of file copies, editing, and registry changes would work, but I'd like to find out for sure.

Edit: I'm still interested in the answer even if I'd need the Steam base game in order to buy the DLC. I'm also interested in the reverse -- can DLC from Origin be used with the Steam base game?

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    I would suggest contacting Steam/Origin customer support before you make a purchase - the two companies are not exactly on good terms, and the whole DLC thing is at the core of why. It seems like it should be possible, but due to funky DRM it might not be.
    – agent86
    Nov 28, 2011 at 17:23
  • @agent86 Ah, DRM. Didn't think of that, nearly all of my games are DRM-free apart from serials/accounts. Still, I'll see if I can get a definitive answer. Nov 28, 2011 at 17:49
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    the "on Steam" part of their disclaimer is something they tend to take relatively seriously. I know in the past it's bitten people who thought they could buy DLC from Steam for a game they bought retail and it didn't work. I'd imagine that an Origin purchase is the same, if not worse: forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2043561
    – agent86
    Nov 28, 2011 at 17:54
  • @agent86 Oh, hmm. I wonder if I could get around that via gifting. Either way I'm still interested in the academic question of whether I could get the different versions to work together even if I owned the base game on Steam :P Nov 28, 2011 at 18:04
  • I think it might work if you register your base that you have as a non-steam game to your user. You can then check if it registers that it will work by going into the base's store page to see if it says that you own it. If it does then it would most likely work with DLCs that you buy on steam. This is just a theory
    – Zoe
    Nov 30, 2011 at 9:42

3 Answers 3


It works one way, but not the other. You can use the keys gained in Steam (Right click on game in left-hand menu, View Game CD Key) and activate them for your EA Games account by registering them at https://activate.ea.com, which makes them then appear in your Origin games list for installation. (This applies to most - but not all - EA Games that are available on Origin)

You cannot use Origin codes to apply games to Steam, and Steam won't let you buy DLC for games you don't own though Steam.

[2015 update: You now activate them on Origin though the client. Origin menu, Redeem Product Code.]


I've contacted both vendors, and both are unwilling to assist, they both state you are required to re-purchase the game through them in order to have a "Valid License" as the digital license are not released to 3rd party clients like Steam/Origin. The License is only valid through one or the other and will not work for both. Same goes with the content. Still looking for a way to transfer the saved data after giving in and re-buying as my girlfriend loves the game and wants the content and Steam has far better prices and deals for the DLC

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    Interesting, thanks. Still though, I wonder how hard it would be to get them to work together, regardless of the companies' disapproval. Mar 8, 2012 at 23:23

I have been able to activate the following Steam-purchased EA games on Origin: Sims 3, Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, Dragon Age Origins, and Alice Madness Returns.

Some older games you have to activate through the authorize link someone else posted above. I did this for Madden 08, which many people said you couldn't get on Origin, and it worked.

So far the only Steam-purchased EA game I couldn't get to activate on Origin was Spore.

You could always buy from Amazon, too, if you're worried. They price match most Steam sales except bundles, and Steam hasn't had a Sims 3 bundle yet that I'm aware of. Amazon has though.

EA customer service is actually pretty good. They helped me add Crysis that I bought from Amazon to Origin.

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    This doesn't really address the question; it talks about full games, but nothing about DLC. Any chance you might be able to add something that addresses that?
    – Frank
    Feb 7, 2013 at 17:17

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