Offline games are video games that don’t require an Internet connection to work. Although this worked effortlessly with single-player or LAN games in the past, the prominence of video game distribution platforms makes this less and less common. Even worse, you may only discover this when the Internet connection goes down. And, although the reason is clear – lack of updates, account stealing, inability to authenticate code, anti-cheat, anti-piracy, and other security measures, it’s still frustrating. Luckily, you have us to help you navigate the situation. Let’s jump straight into how to play offline games.
1. Check system requirements
Although there are no rules, developers of offline games are less likely to optimize their storage size. Therefore, regardless of the operating system or the device you’re using, troubles can arise when you install more than a few larger games. This, paired with the lack of a powerful GPU and CPU, enough RAM, and the presence of ever-increasing resolutions in screens, monitors, and TVs create a problem. This applies to desktop, console, and mobile equally.
So how to prevent potentially paying, then wasting time downloading and/or installing the game? Simple – double-check that your system supports it and can run it at subjectively acceptable settings. A quick Google search of “game name + system requirements” will do. This often isn’t required with gaming consoles. We still recommend that you check the game’s release date, and examine if you need a next-gen model, though.
2. Download or acquire offline games
Places to look for games that don’t need an Internet connection vary based on the platform. However, they have something in common; you can fetch them from these two main sources:
Digital versions of free and paid offline games for PC can commonly be downloaded on video game distribution platforms. Here are a few examples:
- Publisher-exclusive: Origin, EA Play, Battle.net, and Ubisoft Connect
- Public repository: Steam, Epic Games, and GOG (Good Old Games)
- Console-exclusive: PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store for Xbox, and Nintendo Store
- Mobile-exclusive: Google Play Store and Apple Store
Physical copies of the offline games are typically sold in stores or purchased online and shipped to your address. And, although they’re collection pieces and backups against data loss in today’s day and age, this isn’t always true. Instead of freely picking between sources, some publishers, such as Super Rare Games on Nintendo Switch, release game titles exclusive to physical form. Ergo, if you want to play one of those, you must master the process of switching games on Nintendo Switch.
3. Update the offline games (Optional)
This isn’t required with standalone games. However, you’ll quickly realize that offline games downloaded from PC and console video game distribution services won’t launch without this step. To clarify, most platforms of this type require a game to be up-to-date before switching to Offline Mode. This has other benefits, including solving bugs, glitches, and crashes within the game. Fortunately, the game version won’t be checked afterward, allowing you to play the game uninterrupted until you decide to go back to Online mode.
4. Switch platforms or operating systems to Offline mode
Unplugging the Ethernet cable or disconnecting from the Wi-Fi won’t impact your desire to play independent offline games. It only becomes a problem when the game distribution platform’s sign-in process can’t commence. Unsurprisingly, the inability to log in means you cannot access the catalog of video game titles. Luckily, platforms have figured out a solution – an Offline mode switch that works like this:
Sign in to Steam with the Remember my password box ticked. Then, do this:
- Click on Games in the top left menu.
- Click on View Games Library, then update all your games.
- Now click on Steam in the upper left corner then select Settings from the drop-down list.
- Switch to the Account tab. Uncheck “Do not save account information on this computer”.
- Click on Steam again.
- Select Go Offline… in the drop-down list.
- Click on the Restart and Play Offline button and log back in.
Ubisoft Connect and Origin
Sign in to Ubisoft Connect or Origin client while online. Then, do this next:
- Ubisoft Connect: Click on your username in the upper right corner. Click on Go offline. Alternatively, select Settings and tick Always start Ubisoft Connect in offline mode.
- Origin: Click on Origin in the top left corner. From the drop-down menu, click on Go offline. The app will restart.
After signing in to the Epic Games Launcher (not the website account panel), do this:
- Click on Settings in the bottom left corner.
- Find the section titled Preferences.
- Put a checkmark in front of Enable Offline Mode Browsing.
Here’s how Online mode works on PlayStation:
Only one console logged in to the PlayStation Network account can play games offline at any time. It must be configured as Primary by going to Settings > Account Management > Activate as Your Primary PS4 > Activate.
Once again, one console per PSN account can play offline. The setting is automatically on the first PlayStation 5 but can be changed from Settings > Users and Accounts > Other > Console Sharing and Offline Play > Enable.
Here’s how playing games offline on the Microsoft Store or via Xbox Play Anywhere works:
- Check whether Windows has any updates.
- Launch the Store, and sign in.
- Click on your profile picture icon, then go to Settings.
- Find Offline Permissions and toggle it to On.
- Launch a game you want to play offline, but remain online.
- When prompted, log in with your Xbox Live credentials and the game starts.
- Repeat this for every game you intend on playing without the Internet.
After going online at least once, you can play any Xbox game with an offline mode. Here’s what to do:
- Press the Xbox button on the controller.
- Go to Profile & system, then Settings.
- Go to General and select Network settings.
- Select Go offline.
If your Nintendo Switch is marked in HOME > Nintendo eShop > Account Information > Primary Console, you can play games from local storage/the game cartridge. Nintendo recommends enabling the Internet at least once every 7 days to receive crucial updates.