On Friday, over 151k players (and lets be honest, probably some bots too) were all playing Team Fortress 2 at the same time. This is the first time in the history of the game that so many concurrent users have been playing TF2 since the game launched back in 2007.
Based on stats found on SteamDB and shared by the sites creator on Twitter, at around 3:30 pm est on June 25 a peak of 151, 253 players occurred. For a few hours before and after the number of players hovered around 150k. Pretty impressive for a game that is nearly 14 years old.
TF2 currently has 150k concurrent players on Steam for the first time ever https://t.co/dpQogcKYtp
— Pavel Djundik (@thexpaw) June 25, 2021
Of course, if you know anything about Team Fortress 2, you might already be pointing out how most of these are bots. Valve and TFs player base have long fought off bots and tried to play the game despite them all. However, over on the official TF2 subreddit, many pointed out that only a few thousand of these players were most likely bots. Thats due to recent updates from Valve that have looked to cut down on the bot population. Valves efforts havent been foolproof, you can easily find servers filled with bots, but many players noted a decrease in bots since the update.
As for why the sudden spike, it appears to be a result of many players returning to the game after the June 24 update, which added some minor cosmetics and made changes in an effort to bring down the bots. Folks were probably curious to see if the bots were gone, what changes had been made, and if people were still playing the classic team-based shooter.
Team Fortress 2 famously went free to play in 2011, which helped the game hit around 98k active players, a record at the time. Since then TF2 has continued, even as the game and its players have put up with racist bots spamming chat.