While game services like Origin, Steam, and GOG allow for playing their games offline, Microsoft's Windows Store has lagged behind its competitors in this respect (along with plenty of others). However, after it made some improvements to the Windows 10 Store, Microsoft has posted instructions for enabling offline play of games purchased there.
There's a big limitation we should get out of the way first. Where Steam allows you to make any device an offline play device, Microsoft requires that you designate a particular device as your single offline device.
To do that, you'll go through this set of steps first:
- Make sure that you're online.
- Check that your device has the latest Windows updates: Go to Start > Settings > Update & security > Windows Update and see if any relevant updates are available.
- Open the Store. You'll be prompted to sign in if you haven't already.
- Select the "Me" icon (this is your profile picture).
- Select Settings, and then under Offline Permissions, make sure that the toggle is set to On.
As if that wasn't confusing enough, you'll then need to sign into Xbox Live in each game you think you'll want to play while offline. For complete instructions, check out Microsoft's official post.
Ever since Microsoft announced that it'd be opening their own digital storefront as part of a push into online gaming, the company has faced one hurdle after another. Forza Horizon 3 experienced stuttering issues at launch, while Gears of War 4 remained unpatchable for a number of users for weeks. Earlier this year, simple things like disabling v-sync weren't even possible in Windows 10 Store games. Things have gotten better since this spring, but as this fall's releases show, Microsoft still has some work to do.