Valve: Steam's Offline Mode Is Meant To Be 'Indefinite'... But It's Not

Internet connectivity is almost a given these days and some day it may even be ubiquitous. But that day is not today, so, when you've switched a service like Steam to work offline in anticipation of downtime, only to have it ask you to reconnect at an inopportune time... well, it shouldn't be doing that, actually.

According to Valve representative "henryg", Steam's offline mode was not designed to require one to reconnect periodically and was always intended to be left permanently on if the user wants. Not that it works like that, but apparently it's something Valve is working on.

Here's the full post, which was in response to a user who stated (incorrectly) that Steam was "designed" so that offline users have to signal the digital mothership every two weeks:

This is not actually true — Offline Mode is designed to be indefinite. You can't access any of Steam's online features such as friends lists or saved game synchronization, of course, but the client should allow you to run in Offline Mode for as long as you like.

That said, there are many components involved in Offline Mode, and some of them have known issues and bugs which we are continually working to improve. We're aware that it doesn't always work as flawlessly as we want it to, but please keep reporting bugs with Offline Mode. It is not broken 'by design'.

Hopefully we can look forward to a permanent offline mode for Steam... probably around the same time as Half-Life 3.

How to have reliable offline mode on Steam [Steam Community]


    I was on a deployment when in the Navy and had a laptop with steam. Offline mode made it the entire time... nearly, it needed a connection on the way back, which is when I had the most down time.... it takes a month to steam back to Australia.

    Wait, it STILL does this? Back when Half Life 2 came out I was hauling my PC from my bedroom to the family 56k modem to reconnect once every few days because of Steam's demands. How could it not have been fixed since then???

      well if it's gone from a few days to a few weeks, then clearly they've made some progress?

      Personally my offline mode has never asked to go online, but then again I've never had it in offline mode for more than a few days at a time.

    Offline mode is a joke.
    U still gotta connect up every 2 weeks regardless, so whats the point?

    I've probably only used offline mode about 6-8 times tops since I got Steam back in '04, but I've never had an issue with it.

      "Steam needs to be online to go offline." You've never seen this error? Count your blessings.

    Its gotten better. My xps laptop refuses to do offline unless it hibernates, yet my Alienware X51 dose it with out connection and doent ask for it. Its just valves bad coding.

    I never put it offline. Just leaving it sitting with the No Connection message is like auto Offline Mode for me.

    shame you can't earn steam achievements offline... most annoying thing... been eating up 3g bandwidth while i wait for my adsl to be connected because of this lol

      That's, that's a curious thing. I found out because I didn't earn an achievement which all docs said was auto-achieved on story advancement.

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