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Is American Truck Simulator Free? Let Me Help Explain

Hey there fellow trucking fan! If you‘re wondering whether you can play American Truck Simulator without paying, I‘ve got you covered. As an experienced player and simulator enthusiast, I‘ll provide a detailed breakdown so you know exactly what‘s available for free and what requires cash. Stick with me through to the end and you‘ll have all the info needed to get rolling in ATS!

To directly answer that question in the title – nope, American Truck Simulator is not a free game. Being a popular commercial release from a professional studio, ATS is a paid title currently priced at $19.99. There are some limited ways to access it for free which I‘ll explain shortly, but for the most part you have to buy ATS if you want to fully experience this awesome trucking sandbox.

But don‘t let that stop you! ATS offers hundreds of hours of scenic virtual trucking at a reasonable price. And the developers continue improving it years after launch. Once you dive in yourself, I think you‘ll agree handing over $20 is absolutely worth it.

Now let‘s look at some specific options related to playing ATS for free so you can evaluate which works for your needs:

Free Demo

While the complete American Truck Simulator requires purchase, there is a nice meaty demo available at no cost. This lets you take ATS for a test drive before committing any cash.

I definitely recommend downloading the free ATS demo on Steam to give the game a shot firsthand. It gives about an hour of unlimited, unrestricted gameplay so you can get a feel for what trucking in ATS is really like.

The content includes two trucks to choose from, a few different cargo loads to haul, and a large swath of the California map to cruise around. You‘re free to take on jobs, upgrade your rig, and generally tool around until the hour-long time limit is reached.

SCS Software recently updated the ATS demo too so it‘s current with the full version. This free taste should give you a solid sense of the simulation and presentation. Just keep in mind your progress doesn‘t transfer over once you do decide to purchase the game.

But hundreds of players seem to agree the free demo is worth checking out based on the positive reviews. Give it a go and see for yourself!

Free Weekends

Another possible avenue for free ATS access pops up during special Steam "free weekend" promotions. During these events, American Truck Simulator is playable for free for a limited period, usually 3 days.

Free weekend promotions coincide with major ATS updates or holidays a few times per year. If you keep an eye out, you can snag temporary full game access when these weekends roll around.

I always make sure to download ATS during free events just so I can experience the latest content additions. It‘s kinda like a fun treat for the fans! And a great chance for new players to test the full simulator before buying.

The next free weekend usually gets announced on the ATS social media pages and Steam community hub. So wishlist the game on Steam and stay tuned for the next free trucking opportunity!

Shared Libraries

If you have a gracious friend or family member willing to share, you may be able to access their Steam library and play American Truck Simulator free through Steam‘s family sharing feature.

Steam allows you to share your game library with up to 5 other accounts. If the owner sets this up, you can boot up and play their games like ATS while they aren‘t actively playing.

Now of course this relies entirely on someone nice enough to let you borrow their account access. But if you have a fellow trucking buddy willing to share, it presents a way to check out ATS multiplayer convoys together without personally buying the game.

Just keep in mind the owner can kick you off a shared game whenever they want to play. So library sharing isn‘t a permanent ATS solution, but could work great for trying occasional co-op!

Mods & Custom Content

Here‘s some good news: while American Truck Simulator costs money, the thousands of user-created mods for the game are 100% free!

The ATS modding community has expanded the world tremendously with everything from new trucks to custom environments and gameplay tweaks. If you do get the base game, these mods let you customize and enhance it endlessly without spending an extra cent.

The Steam Workshop hub makes downloading free mods a breeze. Some of my favorites include:

  • Real Company Truck Packs – Want to drive as Peterbilt, Volvo, or other real licensed brands? Truck mods got you covered.
  • World Expansions – Total conversion map mods that expand the world like the Coast to Coast mod.
  • Graphics Overhauls – For even more realistic roads, weather, skies, and scenery.
  • Radio Station Packs – Jam out to new tunes on your hauls.

With thousands of free mods, your trucking adventures and customization options are nearly endless even without DLC. Never underestimate the modding community!

Is There a Mobile Version?

This is a question I see pop up a lot: is there a mobile version of American Truck Simulator for Android and iOS?

Unfortunately at this time no, ATS is not available on mobile platforms. The game remains exclusive to PC and Steam.

I really think the simulation aspects like advanced physics would suffer a bit on phones and tablets. ATS really thrives on PC with a keyboard setup imo.

However, the developers have hinted they are looking into potentially expanding to consoles and mobile in the future. I‘ll be sure to update here if any official mobile ports get announced!

For now though, PC is the only place to truly experience ATS. But some mobile trucking games can offer a slimmed-down fix:

  • Truck Simulator PRO – Robust mobile career mode with hundreds of real truck brands.
  • Ultimate Truck Simulator – Custom big rigs and real companies like MAN and Scania.
  • Highway Truck Driver – More arcade-like but has cargo hauling jobs.

These mobile options scratch the surface but can‘t match the depth of ATS. Going PC is highly recommended for the authentic trucking experience.

Can You Get ATS on Steam For Free?

This is one of the most common questions and unfortunately, no – American Truck Simulator is not free on Steam unless you grab it during a special promotional weekend like mentioned earlier.

The Steam store lists ATS for the standard $19.99 USD. And it will remain in your Steam library indefinitely once purchased. There is no way through Steam itself to permanently add ATS to your collection for free.

You could try finding a rare giveaway contest or asking the developers nicely! But typically, ATS must be bought directly on Steam to own and play beyond the 1-hour free trial period.

My advice is grab ATS next time it goes on sale if the current $20 price point is too steep. Steam sales can knock it down to $5-10 at times. Keep an eye out for deals!

Should You Buy American Truck Simulator?

For trucking and driving fans, I firmly believe American Truck Simulator is absolutely worth buying. With over 1,400 hours of ATS playtime under my belt, I can personally vouch for the incredible value and enjoyment this game provides.

Here‘s a quick run-down of why ATS is worth the purchase:

  • Realistic Simulation – From expertly modeled trucks to driving physics, ATS sets a new bar for simulation quality.
  • Jaw-Dropping Scenery – America‘s natural beauty is on full display during your treks.
  • Hundreds of Hours of Gameplay – An endlessly relaxing experience that keeps on giving.
  • Constant Updates – SCS Software refines ATS with fresh content years after release.
  • Thriving Community – Helpful forums and millions of mods add so much.
  • Co-op Convoy Fun – Haul with friends for bonus enjoyment!

And all that immersion and value comes at a fair $20 price point. For the cost of seeing a movie these days, you could instead enjoy an incredible trucking journey across America and back in ATS.

In my opinion, ATS provides some of the absolute best value in gaming and simulation history. The free demo is there to confirm it yourself before spending a cent!

Overall if truck simulators interest you at all, grabbing American Truck Simulator is a no-brainer purchase you surely won‘t regret. See you on the wide open roads!

In Conclusion

While limited free options exist, purchasing American Truck Simulator is ultimately required to fully experience this top-tier trucking simulator. The developers at SCS Software have crafted an absolute masterwork in the genre. For only $20, you get a feature-rich, highly realistic, ridiculously addicting trucking sandbox continuously improved years after launch. With the free Steam demo, you can try ATS yourself before buying. But once you get that first haul under your belt, you‘ll see why so many people rightly recommend backing up the truck and purchasing this classic simulator!

So what do you think – is American Truck Simulator worth buying even when free alternatives are available? Let me know if you have any other questions! I‘m always happy to help fellow trucking enthusiasts. And I hope to see you on the virtual roads soon! Happy hauling!



Michael Reddy is a tech enthusiast, entertainment buff, and avid traveler who loves exploring Linux and sharing unique insights with readers.