Free-to-play joy as Team Fortress popularity soars

Free-to-play joy as Team Fortress popularity soars

By Rob Crossley

June 27th 2011 at 3:53PM

Valve's relaunched game ends Counter-Strike's impressive Steam reign

Counter-Strike’s deeply-embedded position as the most played Steam game has finally been dismantled, following a daring and controversial change in pricing policy from Valve.

The Washington-based company rocked the games industry last week by re-releasing Team Fortress 2 as a free-to-play game.

That triple-A game, at the time of writing, has shot to the top of the Steam most-played list, and continues to grow.

Today’s Team Fortress 2 user levels peaked at 97,917 concurrent users, up further still from about 70,000 users on Friday.

Counter-Strike falls to second place, and in turn has appeared to have lost a small percentage of users.

Team Fortress 2, released in 2007, will henceforth be monetised by microtransactions only.

Valve’s Robin Walker said Valve’s online multiplayer philosophy is “the more people playing the game, the higher value the game has for each individual customer.”

Last week he told Develop: “The more players, the more available servers in your area, the wider variety of other players you'll find, the greater the opportunity for new experiences, and so on.”

Some Valve customers have complained that making a traditional paid-for FPS free to play could encourage more cheating online.