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Steam Hit By 'No Connection' Error Worldwide 126

Posted by timothy
from the tragedy-unbounded dept.
jones_supa writes "Steam users worldwide are getting more than they expected this Christmas, courtesy of Valve. Increasingly annoyed reports are piling up on a Steam Community thread about an ominous 'No Connection' error. Depending on your luck, this means you can either start the client in offline mode and play only single-player games with anything related to the Steamworks cloud features disabled, or you cannot start Steam at all and consequently access anything in your library. However, store related functionality seems unaffected, in case this blunder made you feel like purchasing some more games you may or may not be able to play these holidays." Update: 12/25 17:45 GMT by T : The connection problems were fixed; did you hit the loading errors before they were resolved?
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Steam Hit By 'No Connection' Error Worldwide

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  • by Viol8 (599362) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @01:22PM (#42388337)

    "We were hit with a large amount of completely unexpected network activity during the morning of the 25th of December. In association with the local police we are currently investigating a hacker called Mr S. Claus and will post an update shortly."

    • I have no idea what this is about...someone please xplain!
    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      You are being funny but frankly I'd bet that wasn't far from the truth. They have been having some CRAZY cheap sales this Xmas, many gamers I'm sure got steam bux for Xmas, so everybody and their dog who don't have to work this Xmas all tried loading up at the same time and overloaded the system. Considering they had both the Mass Effect and the Borderlands franchises on sale crazy cheap as well as the THQ collection? again not surprised.

      I honestly don't see what the big deal was, sure I'd be unhappy if it

      • My experience is that Steam doesn't record achievements at all while in offline mode.

        I really wish they'd change it to be more like the 360 and PS3 do (the syncing you mentioned), particularly since Steam already seems to have the capability to unlock achievements via their API.

  • Sensationalism? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Hsien-Ko (1090623) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @01:23PM (#42388359)
    Seems working for me.
    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      Indeed it quit working for like 20 minutes. It is working now so I dunno what the problem is. I've seen it do the same thing before but never for more than 15 to 30 minutes. Must be a slow news day.
    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Decided to finally activate those vouchers from the THQ bundle and everything worked just fine.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by PhoenixFlare (319467)

      Seriously...I guess maybe this would have affected access to save games and settings for some people briefly? I was actively playing games and didn't even notice till I saw this story.

      Probably someone hoping to start a firestorm about Valves eeeeeeevilllll DRM.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's always a good time to bash DRM. While this may have only happened briefly, you absolutely should not lose access to anything. You shouldn't have to run Steam to play your games, either. Valve should scrap the DRM and turn Steam into a platform to buy games (like it partly is now) and keep all the additional functionality. The only change would be that you wouldn't have to run games from Steam.

        • And how many clients do you think they would have if they only had Portal, HL, L4D and a few indie games nobody has ever head of?

          DRM is a requirement if you want big publishers selling their games on your store.
          It's the people who actually buy the games that can shape the market, by refusing to buy DRMed crap.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Seriously...I guess maybe this would have affected access to save games and settings for some people briefly? I was actively playing games and didn't even notice till I saw this story.

        Nope. If it can't connect after being connected, it'll revert to stand-alone mode for 90 days. There are ways to force it to go into stand-alone mode all the time but you can google them. Saves are stored locally, and cloud saves are cached locally until it can connect. Settings the same deal.

        This is a complete non-story.

        • by eharvill (991859)

          Seriously...I guess maybe this would have affected access to save games and settings for some people briefly? I was actively playing games and didn't even notice till I saw this story.

          Nope. If it can't connect after being connected, it'll revert to stand-alone mode for 90 days. There are ways to force it to go into stand-alone mode all the time but you can google them. Saves are stored locally, and cloud saves are cached locally until it can connect. Settings the same deal.

          This is a complete non-story.

          I wouldn't say it's a complete non-story. I was affected for I guess about an hour trying to figure out WTF was wrong with Steam and/or my new Fallout NV DVD.

          After installing Fallout NV from a physical DVD, activating on Steam and even pulling down the latest updates I could not launch the game. Fallout started up to the launch screen, but only gave me an option to Install (which I had just done, wtf?). Other Steam games wouldn't launch either, so I proceed to go down the trouble shooting rabbit-hole

    • by Georules (655379)
      Sensationalism indeed. Small 10-30 minute Steam downtimes have happened before. Really not a big deal. Steam consistently has such absurdly good prices and (imo) a great service, that I reall don't mind if there are a few hiccups.
      • by jez9999 (618189)

        Sensationalism indeed. Small 10-30 minute Steam downtimes have happened before. Really not a big deal. Steam consistently has such absurdly good prices and (imo) a great service, that I reall don't mind if there are a few hiccups.

        All the same, it does emphasize just how reliant you are on an internet connection and Steam's servers to be able to play single-player games that you "purchased". If it weren't for the paranoid copy protection, their servers going down would of course be no impediment to your pla

        • by Georules (655379)
          I've always been able to play all of my games even when the steam connection is down. Regardless of that, I think we passed the point of being dependent on an internet connection a long time ago.
      • Most of the time, Steam downtime is announced in advance (for known downtimes) or confirmed that there's a problem on the Steam Downtime Announcements thread [steampowered.com] on the Steam forums.

        However, it's not always done, particularly on weekends or holidays.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)
      Nope...I was trying to take advantage of the sale and some gift credits I got this morning and the store worked but when I went to download my purchase....crickets. It was only for ~20 min. My download shows 8 minutes remaining.
    • Sensationalism? Yes.

      News? No.

      Steam goes down like this every few weeks - I can count a few instances lasting for several hours at a time this year. Dozens of instances for this happening for several minutes. It means their, uh, servers have crashed and they need to reboot or replace them. This is literally Computers 101 content.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Sensationalism? Yes.

        News? No.

        Steam goes down like this every few weeks - I can count a few instances lasting for several hours at a time this year. Dozens of instances for this happening for several minutes. It means their, uh, servers have crashed and they need to reboot or replace them. This is literally Computers 101 content.

        Wow. The Valve bite-n-smile shills are out in force today.

        Steam sucks, shill, because DRM sucks. There's no disclaimer on a product that says "BTW, this product will not work for XX hours a year on average because the DRM servers occasionally go down." Perhaps that should be a requirement.

        • Wow. The Valve bite-n-smile shills are out in force today.

          Steam sucks, shill, because DRM sucks. There's no disclaimer on a product that says "BTW, this product will not work for XX hours a year on average because the DRM servers occasionally go down." Perhaps that should be a requirement.

          Yeah they do, it's called the EULA.

        • They... actually do have that disclaimer. Look into the printed box of any Steamworks game. It has a disclaimer with an URL to the full disclaimer / contract.

          And it's not the DRM servers going down, it's the servers providing the multiplayer framework. And those do go down for non-Steamworks games too.

  • Steam was showing no connection for 30 minutes earlier and has now fixed itself. Storm in a teacup?
  • From the blurb: "Depending on your luck, this means you can either start the client in offline mode and play only single-player games"

    How does this stop people from being able to play multiplayer games that run on one PC [slashdot.org] in offline mode?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      How does this stop people from being able to play multiplayer games that run on one PC in offline mode?

      Because Steam often pops out of Offline mode (at least, when I was using it regularly, it did) and you would find yourself in online mode when relaunching steam, especially after a crash. And of course, in a modern PC (or IME since Windows 3.x) the graphics driver is most likely to cause a crash, and a game is most likely to break the graphics driver.

      Maybe this problem has been fixed, but it was happening to me quite a bit.

      • Because Steam often pops out of Offline mode (at least, when I was using it regularly, it did)

        Some other Slashdot users appear to be under the impression that even if Steam might have been problematic for the first year after the release of Half-Life 2, it has become more reliable since then. When were you using it regularly?

        a game is most likely to break the graphics driver.

        That's likely to change once browsers implement WebGL.

  • the issue seems not to be affecting SoCal.... np connecting at all here.
  • Connected fine from Italy and the UK over the past few days, and haven't lost an connection on Steam... well, ever. Connected at this moment, in fact.

    Either this is a localised problem or - as usual - some sheer capacity issue for the half-hour that everyone in the US logs on and then not again.

    Steam has a HUGE amount of players online (5m at my last check a few minutes ago) on hundreds of servers worldwide, and I'd think we'd notice 5m people just dropping offline, or all the servers not working, and peop

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      It clearly wasn't global, if you check their stats [steampowered.com] page you can see the numbers takes a dip, but doesn't go to zero (which is what happens during global outages). Looks like ~1.4 million people were affected, which is significant but nowhere near worldwide. The news story is making a mountain out of almost nothing (sounds like the submitter has a major anti-Steam axe to grind). I, for one, had zero problem playing games even though Steam started with "no connection" this morning.

  • "Ominous"? (Score:5, Funny)

    by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @01:39PM (#42388533)

    What exactly is ominous about a "no connection" error? Is it followed by a second message - "the killer is in your house" or some such thing?

    • by grnbrg (140964)

      What exactly is ominous about a "no connection" error?

      A communications disruption can mean only one thing -- invasion!

      --
      grnbrg

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's working fine for me right now under Kubuntu.

    You can usually find more information about down time at:
    https://twitter.com/Steam_Support
    http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=784745&page=37

    There is also this user thread regarding down time: http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=784747&page=869

    Finally, you can see statistics about the number of users on Steam here: http://store.steampowered.com/stats/

    As the graph shows, Steam didn't go down for everyone. When it do

  • by JoshRosenbaum (841551) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @01:53PM (#42388679) Homepage

    Steam has a very consistent schedule of getting updates on Tuesday, many of which take the network down. I would not be surprised if this was the case. I've learned to avoid any games that require a Steam connection on Tuesdays. (Usually ones that are tracking achievements that affect the game or using steam cloud I would guess.)

    • Steam has a very consistent schedule of getting updates on Tuesday, many of which take the network down. I would not be surprised if this was the case. I've learned to avoid any games that require a Steam connection on Tuesdays. (Usually ones that are tracking achievements that affect the game or using steam cloud I would guess.)

      Tuesdays are also the day that new games are released in the US (it's a brick and mortar thing). I wonder if that's related.

  • No one who cares about being able to run programs that they pay for would use this DRM system anyway. And anyone who believes that Steam never could or would cut them off from their purchases deserves this little foreshadowing of what will come of their DRMed purchases.
    • by iggymanz (596061)

      what nonsense, even open source based "cloud" services have had their occassional failures. it's just a glitch, and gamers shouldn't care about the issues you raised, they're just games and not mission critical or human progress critical applications. Valve is a business, they will do what it takes to keep the revenue coming in.

      • I don't know about you but I don't like to pay for stuff that magically evaporates.
        • by iggymanz (596061)

          30 minute outage for certain areas isn't "evaporated". That's better track record than say gmail or amazon (planet wide outages) or linux kernel (weeks down) or opensolaris (poof gone, & indiana not production stable)

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Valve is a business, they will do what it takes to keep the revenue coming in.

        Right up until they fail, which could happen tomorrow or in 20 years.

        They promised to release patches to free Steam games when they go under, but that's a bullshit promise, because if they do that before a buyout they don't get bought out and they go under and no one ever hires them again, if they do it during a buyout it may be illegal, and if they do it after a buyout it's also illegal (not their stuff to sell.) If they do it on the way to bankruptcy or during bankruptcy it's certainly illegal (Same groun

    • by Kneo24 (688412)
      That is a pretty bold statement right there. I care about being to run my programs and I use STEAM. I realize there are tradeoff's for convenience. In the amount of time I have used STEAM the inconvenience that I have received from this service has been marginal at the most.
  • I was trying to watch streaming content on Christmas Eve on Netflix and Hulu (via Apple TV) and was likewise getting 'unavailable' errors; with Netflix, it would happen at different points (from trying to bring up the Netflix main screen down to trying to start an individual episode of a TV series). I chalked it up to tens of thousands of new Netflix/Hulu customers all trying out their new TVs/home theaters/streaming boxes last night. ..bruce..

    • by Dan667 (564390)
      Netflix was down due to amazon cloud problems that Netflix uses. Interestingly amazon prime that competes with Netflix still worked.
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      If it was that then it would be netflix being idiots and not meeting obvious capacity expectations. But it seemed to be an amazon issue - which also brings netflix's management into question since surely amazon's prime streaming video stuff is a competitor for them? Relying on a competitor for critical infrastructure sounds like a good way to have things screw up at critical times (not that I think there was anything malicious yesterday).

      • by pesho (843750)
        Netflix management should take the blame for yesterdays outage and the moronic way they communicated (or should I say did not communicate) the problem to their clients. From what I see all they could muster was one misleading twitter update saying that 'some devices' are being affected (it was a massive outage) and than another one blaming it on amazon. Not a word on their portal page, which was encouraging people to sign up for service. I am curious what would their new clients think when after dishing out
  • Connecting fine, but I am currently unable to purchase anything. Any card I attempt to put through sits there for a couple minutes "waiting" then informs me that my bank rejected my card. Two banks both rejecting my card at the same time when ample funds are present? Don't think so.

  • I probably never got it because Steam never gets turned off.

  • by fox171171 (1425329) on Tuesday December 25, 2012 @05:24PM (#42390093)
    I have spent the last 4 weeks at work in a remote location with limited internet access. I set Steam to Offline Mode before I left. About a week in, when when I clicked on "Start in offline mode" as it asks at every startup, it said it couldn't connect, and that was the end of that. Three weeks with none of my games on Steam playable. Makes me wonder why I bother buying anything.

    Going to be back in town (hotel) for a night before heading out again, hopefully I can get it back into "offline mode" for January. *sigh* Would suck if it is still out, and I can't get into offline mode before I go away again.
    • by Mitreya (579078)

      Three weeks with none of my games on Steam playable. Makes me wonder why I bother buying anything.

      Vote with your wallet - buy from Good Old Games (or such) instead. No DRM.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Three weeks with none of my games on Steam playable. Makes me wonder why I bother buying anything.

      Let's get this straight, you didn't buy anything. You rented those games. You do not own them, except almost in the EU, where you have to pay a fee to resell them. But at least they may resell them; we may not resell them at all.

  • A "you don't actually own anything" model is pretty new to gamers so they're kinda paranoid about Steam. Something like this is a Netflix-level event that will scare away millions. Hopefully it scares away game developers too, who are making steam-only distributions like Skyrim.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    forgotten to open a valve somewhere...

  • Steam isn't using Amazon AWS by any chance are they?

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