How do you play PC games offline on Game Pass?

gaming laptop
Play away: set up offline gaming for Game Pass

Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass is the best thing since beans on toast. However, it does have irritating quirks, especially if you try and play PC games offline. If you’re gaming on a laptop and want to play PC games offline on Game Pass without hitting the buffers, here’s what you need to do.

How to play PC games offline with Game Pass

The key thing here is preparation. If you’ve downloaded a PC game through Game Pass and attempt to play it without an internet connection, you’ll smash into a brick wall of warnings. You need to enable offline play before you head offline. Here’s how to do that:

  1. Open the Xbox app on your PC
  2. Click your profile picture in the top corner of the screen and select Settings
  3. Click the General tab on the left-hand side of the screen and tick the box that says Offline permissions enabled (as shown below)
Game Pass offline permissions settings

Don’t think that’s job done, because it’s not. Before you can play a game in offline mode, you need to first start and close that game while you’re still online. This is annoying, but there’s a good reason to do this. It will check if there are any updates to the game to download before you head offline.

Once you’ve opened a game and are sure there are no updates to install, close it and now you can head out into the wilderness and play that game, even if you don’t have an active internet connection.

Game Pass offline limits

As you may notice from the screenshot above, Microsoft limits how many machines you can use for offline gaming – presumably to stop people downloading loads of games on friends’ computers.

That means you can only assign one of your computers for offline play on your Game Pass account, and you can only switch to a different PC twice more within the next year. To be fair, that restriction shouldn’t bite too many people on the arse, but if (just say) you’re a tech journalist who regularly tests gaming laptops, take a little care over how many PCs you’re assigning offline rights to…

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About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at

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