Digital distribution services Steam and Origin are suffering outages, claimed to be the result of two separate and opposing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks on their parent companies.
Part of the growing trend away from physical media, Valve's Steam and EA's Origin services are both popular - the former for offering a wide selection of first- and third-party content on Windows, OS X and Linux and hosting frequent sales, and the latter as a mandatory part of EA's digital rights management (DRM) system without which its games cannot be played. Both, however, are currently experiencing periods of downtime - in Steam's case, awkwardly just as it launches the final leg of its winter sale.
Neither company has offered an official explanation for the outages, but both are claimed by two separate groups to be the result of DDoS attacks on the relevant servers. An individual or group calling itself DerpTrolling posted on Twitter
that the Origin outage was the result of an attack using the Low-Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) tool favoured of Anonymous, jokily claiming that it was attacking the company at the behest of, or to gain the favour of, Valve founder Gabe Newell.
That attack appears to have resulted in retaliation, with Twitter users chFtheCat
claiming responsibility for a strike against Valve's Steam servers. From the spelling, grammar and objectionable content of Derp, chF and Larceny's Twitter streams, however, it's difficult to say whether anybody is telling the truth or simply attempting to take credit for coincidental server troubles at the respective companies.
With EA and Valve both silent on the cause of the outages, which continue to cause connection drops and login failures for users, gamers will simply have to sit tight until one or both break their silences - or the servers recover from what ails them, whichever comes first.