Incredible Stats About The Team Fortress 2 Player Count and Hats!

Updated · Apr 06, 2022

In its 25-year-long history, Valve has released only a few titles but all of them are widely regarded as masterpieces. Talk about quality over quantity. 

One of their most popular games is Team Fortress, a multiplayer team-based first-person shooter. Originally created as a mod for Quake, it caused such enormous traction that Valve released it as a standalone game. Years later came the even more successful sequel—Team Fortress 2.

While its age has begun to show, it remains exceptionally popular. If you are interested in some more detailed TF2 player count stats, you’ve found just the right place!

Stunning Team Fortress 2 Player Count Facts (Editor’s Choice):

  • TF2 broke a new record 15 years after release.
  • The game has four times more concurrent players than it did a decade ago.
  • The most expensive TF2 cosmetic item is the Unusual Burning Team Captain, valued at $16,800.
  • Top item creators for TF2 make up to $500,000 yearly.
  • TF2 has a total player base of 50+ million players.
  • TF2 has nearly 32,000 items listed on its Steam Community Market.
  • Valve took nine years to develop TF2.

Some Key TF2 Info to Get You Started

They say good things take time and come to those who wait. This good thing certainly took its time but it even more certainly paid off. 

So, why and when did TF2 get so popular? In this section, we’ll look at some of the game’s fundamentals to gain a better understanding of its success and history.

1. Valve spent nine years developing TF2.

(Source: GiantBomb)

The original Team Fortress came out in 1996 as a mod for Quake. It was an instant success, which led to the 1999 release of the Team Fortress Classic standalone game. 

Yet even a year before that, Valve announced Team Fortress 2. Though, they took their sweet, sweet time with it. At one point, people even assumed the company had abandoned the project, with journalists calling it one of the biggest pieces of “vaporware” in the history of gaming.

So when was TF2 released, after all? The game finally came to life in 2007 and instantly enjoyed both critical and universal acclaim. Definitely worth the wait!

2. TF2 became free-to-play in June 2011.

(Source: GameDeveloper)

It was initially a buy-to-play title but Valve decided to switch models in 2011. The studio never fully explained the reasoning behind this but it was likely meant to raise Team Fortress 2’s player count—at that point, an already aging game. The plan was successful.

The most important part of this whole ordeal? Valve presented all existing players with a unique Proof of Purchase hat! If you still don’t know about the hats, keep reading.

3. TF2 was short-lived on consoles.

(Source: ShackNews)

Ever wondered what happened to TF2 on PS3? Or Xbox?

Valve did release Team Fortress 2 for consoles, right? Right. However, unfortunate circumstances resulted in the studio’s inability to update these versions. 

It turns out Valve was literally forced to charge for what were free content updates on PC as at the time, Microsoft didn’t allow devs to release updates for nothing. The costs were significant enough for Valve to abandon the platform by 2009.

As for the PS3, Valve never had any real intentions of supporting it—they seemed to care so little they even outsourced the development of the port.

4. TF2 is on Xbox One… technically.

(Source: Microsoft)

Hear us out, alright?

The Xbox One is backward compatible with the Xbox 360, which means games for the 360 will run just fine on the One as well. If you don’t believe us, go and give it a try.

It’s a really cool way to experience a version of TF2 with low player numbers (but decent enough to get a match)—a sort of a time capsule where you can play the base game without any of the updates.

Fun fact: A similar “time capsule”-version of TF2 exists on the PS3, though you’ll need to procure a physical copy from somewhere since it was never released digitally.

The TF2 Playerbase: the Biggest in the World

You already know the basics. What you might not know is how many people exactly still play TF2 or how it compares to popular competitors.

That would probably come as no surprise but while we were (are) battling a global pandemic, most of the video game industry made an absolute killing. TF2 is no exception.

5. TF2 has a total player base of 50+ million players.

(Source: GamesIndustry)

Which puts TF2’s player count as the largest for any game on Steam. Its free-to-play model has likely contributed to this but let’s not forget many other titles follow similar monetization strategies.  

6. TF2 has seen concurrent players quadruple since launch.

(Source: CulturedVultures)

In 2021, the game had an average of 80,000 people playing at any given time. 

For comparison, this number stood at ~60,000 for most of 2020, and at about 20,000 between 2007 and 2011. Seems like it’s growing and it’s doing so fast!

7. TF2 hit 151,253 peak players in 2021.

(Source: SteamDB)

What makes this even more fascinating is the fact that TF2 had broken the 100,000 concurrent players mark only on a couple of occasions pre-2020. Since then, it’s become almost a daily thing, with peak players staying between 100,000 and 150,000 throughout the whole 2021.

Here’s hoping this trend continues well in 2022, too.

8. TF2’s latest update was on October 6, 2021.

(Source: Steam)

Will TF2 ever get another update? It is, after all, a 15-year-old game.

Luckily, Valve still pays close attention to the game and its players’ wishes. Since 2017, the studio has been releasing fairly significant content updates every October. They usually include a myriad of new cosmetics, sometimes even new maps to play on.

9. TF2 competitor Overwatch boasts 600,000 concurrent players.

(Source: Win)

The similarities between the two games are evident: both are all about class-based combat. 

That said, they have evolved rather differently over time. It’s up to personal preferences now to choose which you find more enjoyable. 

The Overwatch vs. TF2 player count battle, though, is much more objective. The former indisputably wins with nearly six times as many active players.

TF2 Cosmetics: a Market for Hats

Here come the hats! Some would argue Team Fortress 2 is even more famous as a headwear marketplace rather than a videogame. 

Well, it is decent fun playing the game, but there are tons of shooters nowadays. It’s not the action-packed gameplay that gets TF2 its 100,000+ daily players: it’s the fact that it remains the premier option if you’re into collecting fancy headgear.

10. TF2 has nearly 32,000 items listed on its Steam Community Market.

(Source: Steam)

This number includes a wide variety of items and isn’t limited just to hats. Don’t worry, we’ll get to the hats. First, a quick mention that keys and dyes account for a significant portion of the 31,127 items currently for sale.

There are at least 1,500 hats listed, though. Plus, the TF2 hat market is famous for a reason—some of them cost an eye-watering ~$2,000. For even less than that, you could buy out the entire cash shop of most video games out there!

11. Item creators can make up to $500,000 yearly.

(Source: PC Gamer)

Here’s what the deal is—you design a hat and then sell it to other players. Valve takes a cut but you get to keep the rest of the money. The rest is still half a million dollars.

Fun fact: Valve’s president Gabe Newell said in an interview that when they first tried paying item makers through PayPal, the financial company thought they had a drug situation on their hands. Gabe reassured them it was a hat situation.

12. The most expensive TF2 hat costs $16,800.

(Source: Backpack)

We’re talking about the Unusual Burning Team Captain. Yes, the name itself is rather unusual, too.

There are only 10 of these in existence and just one for sale right now. The price? 8,000 keys in Team Fortress currency, which equals nearly $17,000 in real-life money.

Wrap Up

Games like Team Fortress 2 are rare. One, because most titles don’t last anywhere nearly as long, and two, because even fewer actually gain players over time.

But then again, it’s Valve who developed it—they seem to have a knack for producing age-defining games. CS:GO is another title of theirs that boasts incredible numbers and rocks the esports scene.

This concludes our TF2 player count guide. If reading through all these stats made you at least a bit nostalgic, then log straight in and try out a bunch of new hats—we promise you there are lots of new ones.

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Nick Galov
Nick Galov

Unaware that life beyond the internet exists, Nick is poking servers and control panels, playing with WordPress add-ons, and helping people get the hosting that suits them.