Some World War 3 players seem to be stuck with the ‘Steam authentication failed‘ error every time they attempt to launch the game. This issue is ongoing since 2021 and only seems to affect a small portion of players. It’s reported to occur on Windows 10 and Windows 11.
After investigating this issue thoroughly, it turns out that there are several different underlying causes why you might be stuck with the error screen while attempting to launch the game:
- File management inconsistency – According to a lot of community members, this problem is often encountered in situations where the cached Steam files end up interfering with the launch of World War 3. Most users experiencing this issue have reported that the problem was fixed once they restarted Steam and opened the game again.
- Ongoing server issue – You can expect this issue to occur in a scenario where the devs are currently mitigating a server issue. This has happened several times in the past and unfortunately, there isn’t a proper fix to avoid it. All you can do in this case is to wait until the developers manage to address it.
- Corrupted local installation – Another potential culprit that might cause this problem is a false positive or a pending update interrupted prematurely. To fix this problem, deploy a Steam validation (integrity check) on your local World War 3 installation.
- Steam is not opened with admin access – Missing admin access is another potential cause of this error. Missing admin access will prevent Steam from calling upon the auth token used by the game. To fix this problem, you’ll need to reconfigure Steam in order to open with admin access.
Now that we went over every potential cause of this pesky error, let’s go over every confirmed method that other World War 3 players have successfully used to fix or at least identify the problem.
If you’re just beginning to troubleshoot this error, the first thing you should do is restart Steam and see if this resolves the problem.
A lot of users dealing with this issue on and off are reporting that whenever they see the ‘Steam authentication failed‘ error, they simply restart Steam before launching the game once again and this resolves the issue for them every time.
So before moving to the other methods below, start by closing Steam and making sure it’s not running in the background.
After you do this, open it up once again and attempt to launch World War 3 once again.
If the same error is still occurring, move down to the next potential fix below.
Check for an underlying server issue
If the first method was a bust, the next thing you should do is check if the developers (The Farm 51) are currently dealing with a server issue that affects the startup of the game.
Keep in mind that this game has been plagued by server problems since its inception and the symptoms only seem to be getting worse after the game entered close beta stage.
Use DownDetector to see if World War 3 is currently affected by a server problem.
On the DownDetector status page of World War 3, check if there’s currently an ongoing issue affecting matchmaking.
Note: When you’re on the dedicated status page, take the time to scroll down and check the comment section. The bottom section will give you an idea if other users are currently facing the same error.
If you find a lot of user reports complaining about the same type of problem with the World War 3 DownDetector page, check out the official Twitter account of World War 3 for any official announcement of a server problem.
Note: Most of the time, the devs are fast when announcing ongoing technical issues affecting the game, so definitely keep an eye on their official communication channels.
In case you identified a potential serve problem, there’s nothing you can really do other than wait for the problem to be resolved by the devs.
On the other hand, if you found no evidence of an ongoing server problem, move to the next method below.
Open Steam with admin access
Another potential culprit that might be responsible for this problem is a permission issue preventing steam from calling every game dependency.
Note: Steam requires administrator access in order to be able to replace draw from the various game dependencies that the game uses. If you didn’t grant admin access to Steam, you might find yourself in a scenario where every pending update will fail (not just for World War 3).
In case you’re not sure whether you have admin access for Steam or not, follow the instructions below to ensure that admin access is given every time Steam is launched:
- Start by making sure that Steam is closed and not running in the background.
- Next, right-click on Steam, then choose Run as administrator from the context menu that just appeared.
- Launch World War 3 again and see if you can get past the ‘Steam authentication failed’ error.
- If the problem is fixed and you’re able to launch the game normally, you’ve fixed the problem.
Now you need to make this behavior permanent.
- In order to do this, you need to right-click on the Steam icon and click on Properties from the context menu.
- In the Properties screen of Steam, go to the Compatibility tab using the horizontal ribbon at the top.
- Move down to the Settings section and check the box associated with Run this program as administrator.
- Next, click on Apply to save the changes, then launch World War 3 and see if you can get past the authentication error.
In case Steam was already running with admin access or this method didn’t fix the problem, try the next fix below.
Verify the integrity of the game files
If none of the fixes presented so far worked for you, the last thing you can do is troubleshoot against is a classic case of some kind of game file corruption.
According to a lot of World War 3 players, this problem is often caused by some type of game file corruption that typically appears after a botched update or after an unexpected PC shutdown.
To treat this issue, the only fix is to use the built-in Steam menus to fix the integrity of World War 3 by triggering a Steam integrity check.
Here’s what you need to do to trigger an integrity check:
- Open your Steam client and make sure you are signed with your account credentials.
- Once you are signed in, click on Library from the menu at the top, then right-click on World War 3 from the menu on the left.
- Once you’re inside the Library context menu of the game, choose Properties.
- From the Properties screen, go ahead and click on Local Files.
- Next, click on Verify the Integrity of Game Cache.
- Finally, click Yes and wait for the operation to complete.
Note: In case the validation scan manages to find inconsistencies with the game files, follow the on-screen instructions to repair WW3 the game before rebooting your computer.
- Once the operation is complete, launch the game once again and see if the problem is now fixed.