What just happened? Team Fortress 2 had 151,253 players concurrent on Steam on Friday night. After a few hours of flying around the 150-kilometer mark, it cooled to about 130 kilometers on Saturday, before rising again to 150 kilometers last night. Very cool stuff for a 14 year old game.
TF2 no longer offers, except perhaps for a player too young to have lived in its heyday. Well, if that’s the case, now’s your chance: Welcome to the TF2 revival. (Example: Read how we announced with great fanfare in 2011 that TF2 became free to play, and a true pioneer.)
TF2’s biggest problem has always been bots, and responses to the developer’s self-congratulations (below) for passing 150,000 declare that a large portion of the 150,000 aren’t real players. Fair enough, a lot of people have given up on the game because of bots and are still bitter about it. But the peak of the game’s popularity is not due to the increase in the number of bots, but rather the opposite …
TF2 currently has 150,000 concurrent players on Steam for the first time https://t.co/dpQogcKYtp
– Pavel Djundyk (@thexpaw) 25 June 2021
On Wednesday night, Valve updated the game with new cosmetics and serious bot countermeasures. The recent spikes can probably be attributed to gamers who want to check if the bots are gone or not.
The verdict seems to be yes, the number of robots has shrunk a lot. Although if you search for it, you can still find servers with the same human to robot ratio as Mars.
TF2 is unlikely to maintain these levels of popularity forever, given that it previously peaked at around 150,000 and then declined to an average of 100,000. Its audience on Twitch was mostly dead last year, which means that the game is not currently attracting new players. But this is always subject to change.