As an update to the situation around Canonical planning to drop 32bit support (and Valve saying bye-bye to Ubuntu 19.10+ support), apparently they're not. Instead, the 32bit libraries will be frozen. Are you confused yet? I sure am.
Canonical's Steve Langasek has attempted to clarify the situation. Here's what they said:
I’m sorry that we’ve given anyone the impression that we are “dropping support for i386 applications”. That’s simply not the case. What we are dropping is updates to the i386 libraries, which will be frozen at the 18.04 LTS versions. But there is every intention to ensure that there is a clear story for how i386 applications (including games) can be run on versions of Ubuntu later than 19.10.
That's at least a little better, isn't it? They also said a little further:
[…] since the vast majority of i386-only software is also legacy (closed-source, will never be rebuilt), it also does not generally benefit from newer libraries […]
There's a pretty big difference from not being "included as an architecture", to having them available but frozen and still possible to use, isn't there? It's confusing, since that's not how it was originally explained. This is something that should have been said very clearly from the start.
Perhaps this might not be the epic disaster many people (myself included) thought it might turn out to be. We still have to wait and see how exactly they implement all this, and how it will affect gaming.
There's still going to be confusion and issues though, like upgrading drivers. Touching on that, Langasek said:
32-bit mesa will be available in the Ubuntu 18.04 repository. Note that mesa already gets updates in 18.04 which track the versions from later Ubuntu releases, as part of hardware enablement. If incompatibilities are introduced beyond 20.04 (which is the cutoff for hardware enablement backports for 18.04), we will need to address them on a case-by-case basis.
So it sounds like you're still going to be stuck in some ways. Seems like the proposal is still no good for Wine either (and so Steam Play too).