Q. What happens for derivative distributions such as Linux Mint, Pop_OS and Zorin?
Many other Linux distributions have already moved to 64-bit only. Ubuntu derivatives can continue to build upon the Ubuntu 18.04 archive which provides i386 packages. We anticipate derivative distributions will also stop providing 32-bit installation media in line with other mainstream distributions, and in most cases they already have.
Pop!_OS maintainers have already stated that they will maintain 32-bit library support as their users still rely on it, even if that means they adopt maintainership of Xorg and Mesa in their OS.
Q. Doesn’t Steam use 32 bit libraries? How can I play my games?
Steam itself bundles a runtime containing necessary 32-bit libraries required to run the Steam client. In addition each game installed via Steam may ship 32-bit libraries they require. We’re in discussions with Valve about the best way to provide support from 19.10 onwards.
It may be possible to run 32 bit only games inside a lxd container running a 32 bit version of 18.04 LTS. You can pass through the graphics card to the container and run your games from that 32bit environment.
I’m wary of running games in any virtualized/container level state. Games can get pretty performance heavy and any abstraction (snap, flatpak, LXC/Docker/rkt, and LXD) will add some loss to performance there. And no, many 32-bit Windows applications don’t always “just work” in 64-bit WINE. It’s really app dependent.