Skip to main content

Steam goes down for several hours, leaving players unable to buy games

Half-Life: Alyx Announcement Trailer

Digital game platform Steam experienced a major outage on Thursday, with users unable to browse the store or access their profiles. The outage affected both the Steam store’s web version and the desktop app used to launch and update games.

Steam’s outage began at approximately 11 a.m. ET and continued uninterrupted for hours, leaving customers without a way to purchase or download games. The home page occasionally appeared, but other sections gave only an error message, and the home page eventually followed suit.

Access appeared to be tentatively restored as of about 1:30 p.m. ET, though certain parts of the store were still going out intermittently.

When opening Steam on a desktop, the store and profile pages were unviewable. The community tab only worked intermittently, and the only section of Steam still in operation was the library. This meant any games already installed on players’ systems could still be played and updated, but nothing new could be added to the library.

The Unofficial Steam Status website keeps track of the platform with updates on the store and Valve’s games. Several gave error messages, including Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Go, and Artifact, according to the website. Steam creator Pavel Djundik expressed frustration that he was the main source of information on Steam’s issues since Valve does not provide detailed status updates when the platform goes offline. The Steam Twitter account also provided zero updates during the outage, despite hundreds of comments from unhappy players addressing it.

And the fact that a community member has to run a status page (hey that's me) is just silly.

Valve does not provide any status pages or updates anywhere.

— Pavel Djundik (@thexpaw) January 30, 2020

Valve’s strategy differs from Microsoft, which has its own Xbox Live status page as well as regular status updates via its Twitter account. The page offers updates on several different components of Xbox Live, including purchasing and accessing content. Sony has a similar status page for the PlayStation Network, which has been subject to its own massive outages over the years. Nintendo even provides a full maintenance schedule for its servers, allowing players to pick when to fire up their Switch systems ahead of time. All of these notices can potentially be behind the real-time issues facing the services, however, making third-party websites like Down Detector useful when first encountering problems.

Editors' Recommendations

Gabe Gurwin
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Gabe Gurwin has been playing games since 1997, beginning with the N64 and the Super Nintendo. He began his journalism career…
How to share games on Steam
steam machine beta specs detailed in valves latest update

If you’re a PC gamer, you already know about Steam, a megalodon-sized digital video game distribution service from the Valve Corporation. Did you know that you can share your massive collection of games with others? No matter if you are running a Windows PC, MacOS machine, or Linux box, you can play your favorite games with friends and family. Are you interested in the process? Here’s how to share games on Steam.

If you’re looking for the best in video games, be sure to check out our guide on the best Steam games available right now. Want something more affordable? Here are the best free games on Steam at the moment.

Read more
Epic Games Store hasn’t made Steam any less popular with players
forget the steam box meet valves machines devices cat 3

Half-Life: Alyx Announcement Trailer

Even the Epic Games Store's collection of exclusives couldn't diminish the popularity of the gaming store juggernaut Steam. In fact, Valve set a record for its largest concurrent player count ever with hundreds of thousands of players active in Steam-exclusive games over the weekend.

Read more
EA goes against the grain, brings its games back to Steam
Windows 7

You’ll soon be able to play your favorite Electronic Arts (EA) games on Steam, including the new Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. 

EA announced the return of its games on Valve’s Steam on Tuesday, October 29. EA games will launch on Steam in the spring, but the Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order game debuts on Steam on November 15, with pre-orders for the game starting Tuesday. 

Read more