Steam is Back Online After Initial Service-Wide Outage

This story from 2016 looks at a service-wide Steam outage and the aftermath of said outage.

Published: December 24, 2016 11:15 AM /


The Steam logo with many games sold on the service forming a tiled backdrop

Digital distribution service Steam is back online after an extended service outage yesterday that affected multiple aspects of the platform, as reported by PC Gamer.

PC Gamer (and, really, anyone who has the client) noticed that Steam wasn't functioning properly yesterday. PC Gamer's lead news writer Andy Chalk reached out to a contact in Germany to confirm that it wasn't just a regional outage.

Users on Reddit's /r/Steam subreddit, /r/pcgaming, and elsewhere reported similar experiences. Online gaming wasn't possible in cases where the game is dependent on Valve's infrastructure, and some players were unable to play games offline.

A view of the Steam store front page

The Steam Services Status website reports that all elements of the service are now operating normally. A Wayback Machine archive of the page shows just how bad things were at its worst - most of the services were either reporting the HTTP code 503 (Service Unavailable) or simply "Unknown".

Multiple hacking groups have claimed credit for interrupting service in the midst of the 2016 Steam Winter Sale, although Valve has been tight-lipped about what exactly caused the outages.

Speculation from casual users and journalists alike included the idea that the servers were overburdened by crushing demand, an attack by hackers, or hardware failure in a data center somewhere.

A tiled view of games on offer as part of a later Steam winter sale than the one mentioned in the story

Considering the lack of hard evidence, some users on the Steam subreddit and elsewhere on Reddit have made a point of emphasizing that people should avoid giving any undue credit to hacking groups that are looking to increase their prestige by taking credit for the outage.

Whether the outage was due to technical issues or a malicious attack, it's yet another instance of a digital games service going down during the holiday season. Both Xbox and PlayStation faced similar issues during the 2014 holiday season after hackers executed a successful denial-of-service attack against the services.

This year's Steam Winter Sale ends on January 2nd, 2017 at 1pm Eastern time. Keep an eye on TechRaptor and our DealRaptor Twitter to see some of the more interesting sales going on this year!

How did you deal with the outage yesterday? Did it interrupt any of your plans or were you able to work around them? Why do you think the service was down for as long as it was? Let us know in the comments below!

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