What To Do When Your Game Won't Start: Troubleshooting Guide

These simple troubleshooting steps will get most games running again in no time at all.

We’ve all been there. You’re eager to play your favorite multiplayer title or a brand new purchase, but for whatever reason the game just won’t work. Anger, confusion, frustration; they’re all understandable reactions when a game you’ve paid for fails to load, but more often than not there’s a simple solution that’ll get you gaming again in no time. Before you start asking for a refund, try these quickfire solutions for what to do when your game won’t start. Most of the time they’ll get you back in the game, but if not then at the very least you’ll rule out the basic stuff before you dig into the heavy troubleshooting.

What To Do When Your Game Won’t Start: Troubleshooting Guide

There are myriad causes that can stop a game from starting, but before you start panicking, run through the simple steps below and, nine times out of ten, you’ll find that the problem was something minor that you can fix right away. Each step is quick, simple and always worth trying before you invest some heavy time in fixing a broken game. 

Restart Steam/Epic Games Store/Uplay/Origin

Modern gaming services are pretty fancy, but they’re still prone to errors. If you’re playing on PC and for whatever reason one of your games is struggling to launch, try shutting down the service like Steam or the Epic Game Store, making sure all your games are closed, then relaunching it and trying again. Sometimes the launcher fails, not the game.

Restart your PC or Console

Computers are complicated things, which means even if you do everything the exact same, something can go wrong behind the scenes. Your next port of call should be a swift restart, just to check it’s not your PC or console having problems.

Verify your game cache

If you’re playing on PC, most game distribution services include the option to verify your game cache. This is essentially a check to make sure nothing got corrupted while installing or downloading your game. Be warned, this may take a little while if the game in question is large.

On Steam, go to your library, right click on a game and select Properties. Swap to the Local Files tab and click Verify Integrity of Game Cache.

On EGS, swap to your game library, click the three dots on the right-hand side of the game bar and select Verify.

On Origin, open your game library, right click on your game and select Repair.

On Uplay, open the Games tab, right click on your game and select Verify files.

Clean the disk

Though the realm of digital has largely taken over these days, if you’re playing a physical game on console then it’s always worth checking that your game disk isn’t damaged. Look for spots of dirt or smudges, then use a clean cloth to gently wipe outwards from the center of the disk. Don’t rub in a circular motion. Larger scratches may present a more serious problem.

Check the online servers

If you’re a big Destiny 2 or Modern Warfare player, you’ll occasionally find that you can launch the game but can’t get online. If this has happened, check the state of the game’s servers to see if they’ve been taken down for maintenance. Looking at the official Twitter account for the game is a good place to start, but you can also try official forums or the subreddit.

Reinstall the game

Provided you have the disk or your internet connection is decent, reinstalling a game won’t take you an eternity. If you’ve run into issues after installing for the first time and can’t verify the files, reinstalling is your next best bet.

Search for your exact error code online

If none of the above options has proven successful, we’re afraid it’s time to get serious with your fixing. If you’re playing a big release, chances are someone else has already faced the same problems as you. If your game is crashing with a specific error code, try searching for that code online to see if anyone has already solved your problem. If the game is a new release, waiting a day or two then checking again may yield more results. 

We can’t guarantee this checklist will fix every problem out there, games are complicated things after all. But it’s always worth testing the simple solutions before you move on to advanced troubleshooting or worse, a full-on refund. Have any good troubleshooting tips of your own? Let us and everyone else know in the comments below!

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