Highly anticipated: Team Fortress 2 may seem like a relic compared to newer competitive shooters like Overwatch, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, or Valorant, but its player base is still growing after over 15 years, and it still receives substantial content updates. The Summer 2023 patch adds an impressive array of community creations, and fans are already flocking back to the 2007 classic.
Valve has released its long-anticipated summer 2023 update for Team Fortress 2. This year's update includes much more user-made content than previous annual offerings.
The main course of the patch is the collection of 14 maps occupying various settings like a harbor, a desert canyon, Venice, a traditional Japanese-style building, and more. The over two dozen other community assets highlighted include taunts, effects for the game's countless available hats, and paint options.
The 2007 multiplayer shooter doesn't get as much attention nowadays as newer rivals like Overwatch or Valorant. Valve also tends to focus on its current most popular title – Counter-Strike: Global Offensive – while it prepares to transition to Counter-Strike 2 this summer. However, despite its age and the amount of competition facing it, Team Fortress 2 is more popular today than ever.
Concurrent player numbers have steadily risen since launch and continue to hit new all-time peaks. Since the summer 2023 update landed, the game hit a new record of just under 185,000 players. Although the latest patch is bigger than most, consistent updates over the years, largely leveraging community mods, have kept the game strong. Valve has also maintained special events and official competitions, holding multiple in this quarter alone.
Online games rarely maintain such support after 15 years. Many titles far younger than Team Fortress 2 shut their servers down in 2022 alone, including Tera Online, Super Bomberman R Online, Heroes of Newearth, Survivarium (possibly due to the developer's home country turning into a war zone), Far Cry 3, and every Stadia game. Conversely, Activision seemingly just fixed matchmaking in all Xbox 360 Call of Duty titles.
More recently, the influential early MUD MMORPG The Realm Online went offline at the end of last month, 27 years after its initial launch. It slightly predates some early titans of the genre, like Everquest and Ultima Online, which you can still play today. It's hard to say if Team Fortress 2 will last another decade to reach that age, but it doesn't seem to be slowing down yet.