Bad customer experience: Valve and Steam delivered games

Gaming Rant

I returned home from a week long vacation out of state to find my internet connection is down, which after some calls to tech support, yields a technician coming to my house in three days. At any rate, as I’m a pretty avid gamer, I have a stash of single player games which typically I save for these “rainy days”.

Well, over time, it seems I have picked up a fair amount of single player games which were purchased and delivered on Valve’s Steam system, which I am a pretty big fan of. The ability to just download and play the games you have already purchased is awesome!

Now normally, when your internet connection temporarily goes down, Steam supports an “Offline Mode” which allows you to play your games even though it can not connect to the Valve servers to validate the purchase. And usually it works fine. Games which require internet access don’t work so well, but you’d run into that with or with-out Steam, no doubt.

The problem I have run into however is, I would have to call a bug. As I mentioned I have been away for a week and my machine was turned off. So after some period of time, the Steam client decides it needs to check for an update, which ultimately falls as the internet connection is down. So, really that’s fine, the problem is, when an update fails the Steam client will not allow anything else to happen and closes Steam. An even more frustrating, it pops up the dialog which let’s you either Cancel running Steam or to start it in “Offline Mode”, however, when a Steam client update fails, it can only close steam and will not allow “Offline Mode” to proceed.

Here are some screenshots of the process:

1) So far, so good, starts up and tries to update


2) Starts doing something, in fact it gets to 27% pauses for a second, then retries. It will try 3 times in total never getting past the original 27% . This is likely due to the fact that the internet connection this machine is currently using is a tethered mobile phone using the 3G network of my provider. I’m not blaming Steam for this. With absolutely no internet connection, this #2 shot never happens, it just proceeds to #3.


3) After 3 failed attempts at completing the download and update, it errors out.


4) We are now presented with an option to Retry, Quit, or Start in Offline Mode. Retry repeats items 1 thru 3. Quit simply quits the steam client here. We then try the “Start in Offline Mode” to get to our games list or onto the game we started via Steam generated shortcut.


5) The Steam client update is apparently a MUST HAVE to proceed, and since it has failed (and in this case can never proceed as no internet connection is available). We are denied starting in “Offline Mode”


6) Surprise, surpise, there is a problem with the internet connection… We knew that, but I am now being denied access to any of my PURCHSED ($$$) games delivered by Steam.



Surely this is normally a temporary inconvenience but I can’t play games I’ve paid for for 4 days, plus however long the internet connection actually was done while I was away… It’s not Valve or Steam’s fault, but it is there problem.