Sims 4 is a life simulation game developed by EA and is one of the most popular games in its genre. Sims has had an unstable fan base from being too popular at one point to being just a mediocre game. However, at any given time, there are thousands of Sims 4 players playing the game.
Despite being one of the major titles ever released by EA, there seem to be several problems in Sims 4. One of the issues which bug a lot of people is the ‘Video card error’ they encounter when they are trying to launch the game or during any random moment inside the game. In this article, we will go through all the possible causes as to why this occurs and what the possible workarounds are to fix the problem.
What causes the ‘Video Card Error’ in Sims 4?
After receiving several reports from users, we started an investigation on our end and worked out all the causes as to why this issue occurred. Here are some of them:
- Computer in an Error state: This may seem unlikely at first but there are numerous instances where the computer goes into an error state. This is a very common scenario and can be fixed easily by power cycling.
- Graphics Drivers: Drivers are the main components that run the entire computer because they form a bridge between the hardware and software. If the graphics drivers are not working properly, you will experience numerous issues.
- Origin in-game: Since Origin hosts the game primarily for distribution, it also has an option where you can enable Origin inside the game. This feature has known to cause several problems. Here, you can disable Origin inside the game and see if this helps in anything.
- Outdated Sims 4: As time progresses, so do the version of computer components. To keep up with the pace, the Sims 4 engineering team releases a software update now and then. If the very game doesn’t update, you will experience numerous problems.
- System requirements: Perhaps the simplest cause is that your computer doesn’t meet the minimum requirements of the game. If your specs are too low, you will experience numerous problems.
- Windowed mode: This is more of a workaround than a cause; it seems that Sims 4 sometimes malfunctions and only runs properly in windowed mode until an update is released.
- Windows update: Windows updates are linked to all the software components running on the computer. If there is a bad update that causes issues in the functionality of the software, you will experience numerous problems.
- Compatibility: We also came across numerous instances where the compatibility of the game didn’t match the compatibility of the OS. Running the game in compatibility mode helps here.
Before you start with the solution, make sure that you are logged in as an administrator and have an active internet connection. Also, make sure that you save your progress on the cloud to avoid any mishap.
Pre-requisite: System and Graphics Requirements
Before we start with the extensive technical workarounds, it is very essential to understand the importance of system requirements of Sims 4. The requirements are released to state the compatibility of hardware with the game. Even though the game works in minimum requirements, we recommend that you have at least the recommended settings.
Minimum Requirements: CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E4300 or AMD Athlon 64 X2 4000+ (2.0 GHz Dual Core required if using integrated graphics) RAM: 2 GB OS: Windows XP VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce 6600 or ATI Radeon X1300 or Intel GMA X4500 PIXEL SHADER: 3.0 VERTEX SHADER: 3.0 SOUND CARD: Yes FREE DISK SPACE: 10 GB DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 128 MB
Recommended Requirements: CPU: Intel Core i5-750 or AMD Athlon X4 CPU SPEED: Info RAM: 4 GB OS: 64 Bit Windows 7, 8, or 8.1 VIDEO CARD: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 650 or better PIXEL SHADER: 5.0 VERTEX SHADER: 5.0 SOUND CARD: Yes FREE DISK SPACE: 10 GB DEDICATED VIDEO RAM: 1024 MB
In both cases, it is recommended that you have a solid graphics card to play the graphics. If you don’t have proper graphics hardware, you should consider adding one to your system.
Solution 1: Disabling in-game Origin
Origin is the main distributor of Sims 4. It hosts the servers to some extent as well and provides services such as payments, purchases, updates, etc. of the game. Origin has a feature that is implemented in every game it hosts where there is an option of access Origin while in-game (this isn’t the case with other game distributor platforms). This very feature, even though may seem useful, causes numerous issues with the game. In this solution, we will navigate to this setting and disable the function.
- Launch Origin on your computer. Then go to My Games Library.
- Here, all the games you own will be listed. Search for Sims 4, right-click on it and select Properties.
- Here, under the tab of General, uncheck the option of Enable Origin in-game for Sims 4.
- Save changes and exit. Restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved for good.
Solution 2: Running in Windowed Mode
As we mentioned in the causes, there are instances where Sims 4 doesn’t work well in full-screen mode. This can be either due to internal settings or due to some external factor which isn’t determinable. Usually, after this bizarre scenario occurs, Sims 4 releases an update that fixes the problem. Here, while the fix is underway, you can try launching the game in Windowed mode and see if it works. We came across numerous examples where the issue was fixed completely.
Here, we will go through the method on how to launch the game in windowed mode using the GeForce Experience application.
- Launch the GeForce Experience application and locate Sims 4 in the list of games.
- Now, search for the icon of a ‘wrench’ which allows users to access custom settings. Click it.
- Now, change the display mode to Windowed and lower your resolution. Save changes and exit.
- Restart your computer and check if the issue is resolved for good.
Solution 3: Power Cycling and Checking your Internet Connection
Power cycling is an act where you completely shut down your computer so all the temporary configurations are gone. The next time you turn it one, the computer will be forced to create the temporary variables/configurations from scratch using the default values. If there is an error in them, this method will it instantly. Make sure that you save your existing work properly before proceeding.
- Take out the main power cable of the router and your computer (after shutting it down) from the socket. Now, press and hold the power button for around 4-6 seconds.
- Now, wait for around 3-5 minutes to make sure all the power has been drained completely.
- After the time has elapsed, re-plug everything back and then wait a few minutes so the network is broadcasting again properly and your computer starts up.
- Now check whether the issue is solved and you can play Sims 4 without any issue.
Solution 4: Repairing Sims 4
Another thing which we can do is checking if the installation files of Sims 4 are damaged or not. If the very game files aren’t in good health, there are bound to be problems where you will experience bizarre issues including the Video card error. Also, if you haven’t updated Sims 4 for a while, we recommend that you do so without any further due.
- Launch Origin using its launcher and navigate to “My Games”.
- Locate your Sims game, right-click it and select “Repair Game”.
- Wait for the process to complete fully. Do a restart and check if you can successfully launch the game.
Solution 5: Running in Compatibility mode
Every version of Sims 4 is released with the guest operating system in mind. So if the Sims installed on your computer is meant to be for a newer version of Windows and you are using an older one, you will experience the Video card error. Here, we can try launching Sims 4 in compatibility mode and see where that takes us. If the compatibility is the issue, this solution will solve it.
- Right-click on Sims 4 application and select “Properties”.
- Once in properties, select the Compatibility Check the option Run this program in compatibility mode for and select another operating system. Preferably go with Windows 8 or 7.
- Press Apply to save changes and exit. Now restart your computer completely and check if the problem got solved.
Solution 6: Disabling Mods
Mods are famous in Sims 4 for making the gameplay even more interesting by adding good content. They allow the user to set the game as they want and enjoy unconventional features or skins inside the game which may not be available normally. However, since mods are developed by third-party manufacturers, they sometimes clash with the game engine and cause several issues. In this solution, we will disable the mods on your computer and see if this makes any difference to our situation.
- Locate the Sims 4 installation directory. Also if you are using any mod manager, make sure that you disable Sims 4 from there manually as well.
- Once in the installation directory, search for the mods directory.
- Move your mods folder to your Desktop. Cut paste the entire folder.
- Restart your computer completely. Now launch the game without any mods and see if the issue is fixed for good.
Solution 7: Reinstalling Origin
If all the above methods don’t work, you can go ahead and reinstall the entire Origin client. Normally, Origin works perfectly without any issues but there are reports where this isn’t the case. Make sure that you have your credentials at hand as you will be required to input them when you login into Origin again.
- Copy the Sims 4 folder from Origin manually to some other location and uninstall the application completely.
- Once the application is uninstalled, navigate to the official website and download the client again.
- Now copy the Sims 4 folder back into Origin and refresh the client properly. Hopefully, the game will be detected and will be able to launch with a fresh copy of Origin.
Tip: If you are still facing problems, try launching the application in ‘Offline’ mode and see if this does the trick. You can also try clearing the cache.
Solution 8: Updating Graphics drivers
If none of the above solutions work and the game still outputs the Video card error, we attempt at updating your graphics drivers to the latest build available. Graphics drivers communicate information between the game and the hardware. Using these drivers, the graphics hardware displays graphics on your screen. If these are somehow corrupt or incomplete, you will experience the crashing.
Here in this solution, we will install DDU (Display Driver Uninstaller) and then use it to remove the current drivers. Then we will check if the default drivers work. If they don’t, we will update them to the latest build.
- Install the utility Display Driver Uninstaller and boot into Safe Mode.
- Once you are in Safe Mode, launch Display Driver Uninstaller using the executable which was just created.
- Once in the application, click on Clean and Restart. DDU will now remove all the existing driver files and restart your computer after the action is done.
- Boot your computer into normal mode, press Windows + R, type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box and press Enter. Most probably, the default drivers will be installed. If not, right-click on any space and select “Scan for hardware changes”. Now try launching the game and see if the default drivers fix the crashing issue.
- Now there are two methods to update the graphics drivers; either you can update them automatically using Windows update or manually by browsing to the file where your graphics drivers are located. If automatic updating fails, you have to navigate to your manufacturer’s website and download the drivers first.
To update, right-click on your hardware and select Update driver. Now select any one of the two options according to your case.
- Restart your computer after installing the drivers, launch the game and check if this solves the problem.