PSLS Help Desk – How to Play Digital PS4 Games Offline

October 20, 2016 Written by Keri Honea

Help Desk

There are so many pluses when it comes to buying a game digitally over retail. You don’t have to swap out discs (lazy FTW!), you can play them at midnight without attending a midnight launch, and they don’t take up any shelf space. They take up plenty of hard drive space, but that’s easily remedied with a nice 2TB solid state drive (SSD). But occasionally, those digital games you purchased can’t be played without an internet connection, which hardly makes sense. If they’re not online-only games, and you paid your hard-earned money for them, then why can’t you play them offline?

It’s actually a common occurrence, and the good news that there’s a super easy fix for it. If you come across this problem, the first thing you need to check is if your particular PlayStation 4 system is set as your Primary System. Only your Primary System can play digital games offline, because it’s this system that caches the licenses of your games. As such, anyone can play any of the Primary System’s games offline. To play your digital games on another system, you have to be online so Sony can verify the licenses.

Here’s how to check and see if your PS4 is set as your Primary System:

  • Log into the PSN from your PS4
  • Settings -> PSN -> Activate as Your Primary PS4
  • Select [Activate]

Simple enough, right? But what if you already have your PS4 selected as the Primary System but you still can’t play your games offline? There are two things you can do to give your system a kick into remembering that it’s your Primary System, and it needs to play what you rightfully purchased.

First, try the tried and true method of logging out of the PSN, restarting your PS4, and then logging back in again. If that still doesn’t work, manually restore your licenses. Here’s how you can do that if needed:

  • Log into the PSN from your PS4
  • Settings -> [PlayStation Network/Account Management] -> [Restore Licenses]

For 99.9% of all cases, following these steps will get your PS4 to play digital games offline. If you’re one of the unlucky 0.01%, you may have to resort to making that fun phone call to PlayStation Support.

Essential Reading: