What are the general experiences with it? I've only tried it once, on one game, and it did work, but I am used to hearing that it is very unreliable and very unlikely to work in most cases.

Obviously, I am not asking about multiplayer games.


3 Answers 3


Steam Offline mode has been improved during the last year of Steam developments. You shouldn't have any issues while playing offline, but I can give you some advice and suggestions:

  • Games that use Cloud features, played offline, will not allow you to get old savegames.
  • Achievements will not work offline (it seems at least Can the Steam achievements be gained also offline?).
  • Leaderboards, if implemented by the game, will not work offline.

In addition to this, if you plan to play offline for long time I suggest you to do this before you do go offline:

  1. Set for all game, using Properties, the option to not udpate automatically
  2. Then choose from the Steam menu, the command Go Offline
  3. Restart Steam
  4. Verify that all games you are interested to play start

Could be a bit paranoid but it will prevent bad surprises.

  • That's a good point about setting the games not to update, thanks! And also for the good news that the offline mode was improved recently - perhaps the bad rumours were caused by earlier issues, which are now fixed...
    – NPC
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 9:05
  • 2
    Yep, step 3 is really important. Often, Steam will decide it can't start into offline mode because it must download and install a Steam update. Very annoying.
    – badp
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 9:31
  • 1
    Note however that games using Steam Cloud will still synchronize your new save, made while being offline, when you come back online.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 12:37

It works good for every game able to play offline, but make sure you activate it before you go for a trip without internet.

Because 90% of times, it will work, detect that no connection, and propose you the offline mode. But the remaining 10%, it will consider it didn't connect correctly the last time it launched. And since you are not authenticated for him, it will refuse to open the offline mode, and ask you to connect to the Steam network.

So be sure to switch to offline mode before having to use it.

  • That's a good advice, thanks. Though sometimes my link just disappears, so I have no way to prepare for this. Would having been recently authenticated with Steam solve this? And what is the timeout for authentication, do you know?
    – NPC
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 8:54
  • 1
    @NPC - I don't know, sorry.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 12:38
  • No problem. I suspect that may be nobody does :)
    – NPC
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 13:04
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    This is the important point. Once your in offline mode it will work great, but you have to make sure you switch Steam to offline mode while you still have an active connection or you never know what will happen when you try.
    – Stephan
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 14:53

Never had any problems playing:

  • Counter Strike: Condition Zero
  • Plants vs Zombies
  • Left for Dead

so I don't think it's an issue

  • 1
    Thanks, it is comforting that it works for you on a mainly online game like L4D, I guess they do code it right after all :)
    – NPC
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 8:56
  • L4D is not online only, it can be played also as single player.
    – Drake
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 12:37
  • I know, that's why I wrote "mainly online" - still, the gameplay is based on multiple players interacting, even though there is an AI-bot-mode :)
    – NPC
    Commented Jul 16, 2010 at 13:09

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