Unfortunately for gamers hoping to take advantage of Steam‘s annual Winter Sale, it appears as though the entire Steam Network is currently down. At the time of this writing, gamers are unable to access Steam’s store or their friends lists, and all Steam game servers are out of commission as well. Valve has yet to release a statement on the matter, so it’s unclear what caused the Steam Network to go down today.
It’s possible that the increased traffic for the Winter Sale, which kicked off yesterday, caused the servers to crash. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time Steam’s services went down or were severely limited by one of the company’s sales, which are notorious for providing deep discounts on relatively new releases. Gamers rush to Steam to take advantage of the sales, and the increased traffic can sometimes overload the traffic.
Besides traffic overload, another likely reason for Steam going down comes to mind. The last few years have seen various gaming services like Steam, Xbox Live, and PlayStation Network bombarded by DDoS attacks during the holiday season, with the most notorious attack occurring in December of 2014, perpetuated by the Lizard Squad under the guise of forcing people to spend time with their family instead of playing games.
If Steam is down because of a DDoS attack, it’s hard to say if Lizard Squad is to blame. Typically when Lizard Squad takes down a service with a DDoS attack, it’s quick to take credit for it on Twitter and other social media networks, but so far it hasn’t claimed responsibility for the ongoing Steam outage. It’s also worth noting that members of Lizard Squad have been arrested, and so the hacking group may not be as much of a threat to gamers this particular holiday season as they have been in the past.
If Lizard Squad isn’t to blame for Steam being down, then another hacking group could be responsible. Of course, that’s just speculation at this time, but until a group steps forward to claim responsibility or Valve offers some clarification, all fans can do is speculate as to why Steam’s services are currently unavailable.
In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if other online gaming services also go down. Fans should keep an eye out, because if Xbox Live and PlayStation Store go down as well, it could be a strong indication that yet another DDoS attack has been launched against gamers during the holidays.