Fortunately, for most gamers, this issue was over almost as soon as it was noticed. Today—of all days Christmas day when many e-gifts, some video games, will be unwrapped—the digital distribution network of Valve’s extremely popular Steam had a worldwide outage causing much frustration. Reports from users in the Steam forums reveal that at approximately 8am MST Steam just stopped working.
Users began to see “NO CONNECTION” appear in their clients. For most this meant that they couldn’t update or download games, or play anything that required a connection to steam; for others it meant inaccessible single-player games (although that varied with some lucky users.)
The outage only appeared to affect game playing and not the store so more than likely it’s safe to speculate that it hit the cloud system that allows for the storage of game saves as well as the system that Steam uses to connect games to their multiplayer servers. No doubt many Call of Duty players were stamping angrily at their keyboards unable to play their game with friends due to this outage—Black Ops II only recently came out and is available for download on Steam.
From the looks of it the system was down until around 10am MST meaning it would have been offline only approximately 2 hours before the Valve teams rushed to whatever went wrong, hit it with their wrenches, and repaired the issue.
Valve’s Steam digital distribution is one of the most popular avenues for gamer’s to receive games. In the era of cloud-publishing and digital downloads, Steam has become king of the mountain—but not without some controversy about how it functions and using the service to connect to games. In fact, in the past it has been noted that sometimes the Steam client can make it difficult to play single-player games without an Internet connection (and in this case, some get hit when Steam is down.)
In all, the Valve IT crews appear to have worked swiftly to repair the issue and we will update on the cause as soon as they release information.