Team Fortress 2 overtakes Counter-Strike to take Steam most-played top spot

Team Fortress 2 - meet the medic

For the first time in as long as we can remember, Counter-Strike has been knocked off the top spot on the Steam most-played list . Team Fortress 2 has stolen the crown. That means that overnight, TF2 has leapt from a top ten position to the very top, gaining tens of thousands of players in the process

It's a resounding indication of the success of TF2's move to free-to-play . Counter-Strike is routinely the most played game on Steam, often boasting twice the number of players of its nearest rivals. For a four-year-old online shooter to suddenly leapfrog the Counter-Strike is a big deal.

Team Fortress 2 already had a big player-base before it went free-to-play, and it might have been fair to assume that everyone who wanted to play the game already owned it, especially given the incredibly low prices it's been sold for in some of Valve's Steam sales, and the regular free weekends that were thrown after every major update. In practice, removing the barrier of entry completely has had an impressive effect.

Does this mean Valve will be making more of their catalogue free? Speaking to Develop , Team Fortress 2 lead Robin Walker said "with just the data from a single product, it seems dangerous to assume that it would be true for all our products."

"The data we got back from the Mann-conomy Update leads us to believe that TF2 would be more successful as a completely free product," he said. "Either way, we'll know a heck of a lot more in a couple of months, and that's the kind of thing that gets us excited around the office."

Tom Senior

Part of the UK team, Tom was with PC Gamer at the very beginning of the website's launch—first as a news writer, and then as online editor until his departure in 2020. His specialties are strategy games, action RPGs, hack ‘n slash games, digital card games… basically anything that he can fit on a hard drive. His final boss form is Deckard Cain.