I welcome Microsoft’s latest renewed interest in PC gaming, glad to see their big Xbone games on PC, but it’s a shame they started so sloppily. Between requiring Windows 10, only selling on the janky Windows Store, capping framerates… it seemed so half-arsed. But they have slowly (too slowly) been buffing out problems, and recently fixed another big problem: Windows 10 games can now be played while offline. How could Microsoft have predicted that anyone would ever want to do that? Sheesh.
As Microsoft support explain, games from the Windows 10 Store can now run offline if you do a little prep work beforehand. It can be as simple as launching your games once while online to enable them offline forever.
If you’ve got several Windows 10 systems, it gets trickier. You’re only allowed one ‘designated offline device’, see, so you’ll need to pick one and enable that as The Chosen One before setting about launching everything. Oh, and you’re only allowed to change your designated offline device three times per year. Got to have faff somewhere, don’t they?
This change doesn’t mean every Windows 10 game will run offline — as with regular PC games, even singleplayer-y games may still require an Internet connection — but this at least means it’s not impossible. “Most games with a campaign mode will be playable offline,” Microsoft say, “but games with network co-op or multiplayer features will not work while you’re offline.”
I do hope more of the fancy Xbone games Microsoft are publishing will leave Windows 10 and/or the Windows Store. Quantum Break hit Windows 7 and Steam five months after debuting on Windows 10 in the Store and no other games have followed it since. I can’t imagine Microsoft would release games DRM-free any time soon but I would at least like to get them through Steam, a client which already has all my gamepals and which lets me install different games to different drives (preserving that SSD!).
[Update: It’s been pointed out to me that Windows 10 does support moving apps to different drives – after they’re installed. That’s handy, though I’m not surprised even that is faffy.]
This offline change happened at the end of October but I’m telling you now, okay. I’ve had a lot on, right?