Skip to main content

It’s 2023, and Team Fortress 2 just set a new all-time player record

Rocketed to new heights by release of long-awaited Summer Update, plus a cute seal.

The release of Team Fortress 2’s much-anticipated Summer Update this week has boosted the nearly 16-year-old multiplayer game to a new all-time record for concurrent players. Over a quarter of a million people were playing TF2 at the same time yesterday, almost doubling its previous record - and even that was only set last year, signalling that there’s plenty of life left in the enormously popular shooter yet.

Team Fortress 2 hit a peak of 253,997 simultaneous players on July 14th (as per SteamDB), blowing past the previous record of 167,951 set last December. That means that TF2 has now set all-time records for concurrent players three years running, rising from just under 150,000 players in 2020 to just over that in 2021. Not bad for a game halfway through its second decade, eh?

Watch on YouTube

Much of Team Fortress 2’s current resurgence is down to the enormous Summer Update released on July 12th, which added over a dozen new community maps and loads of cosmetics - including items, taunts, effects and war paints - plus some more general fixes and improvements.

Most importantly, one of those 14 community maps, the Scandinavian-inspired fishing village Selbyen, includes a seal that you can feed fish dropped by enemies. The adorable seal is the focus of the map, with the first team feeding it 100 fish winning. It maintains its delightful expression and aura of majesty, seemingly oblivious to the constant gunfire and bloodshed taking place around it - and, indeed, in its name.

A seal bounces towards the sea as a group of Team Fortress 2 mercenaries form a defensive ring around it.
Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Valve

Unsurprisingly, everyone loves the seal - which goes by many names (Silvia is her real name, accoing to the map's lead designer), and has inspired memes, fanart and endless social media discussion. In response to its popularity, the devs behind Selbyen are now planning to donate a portion of profits from the map to the Skegness seal sanctuary. So everybody wins: Valve, players and seals.

Read this next