Team Fortress 2 is ten years old.
Most people would’ve known this. But I feel that this point bears repeating. To be very honest, it isn’t exactly that easy to tell sometimes, since the stylized art ages pretty OK.
But because it’s ten years old, it has understandably lost some of its luster. Every time a new game comes out, it’ll chip away at least a sliver of TF2’s playerbase. The game is fighting a battle of attrition against the rest of the gaming industry for 10 years.
Aside from that, as more and more new names enter the arena, TF2’s name is buried deeper and deeper into the ever-growing list of games to play. Past a point, and the actual quality of the game doesn’t matter anymore. It’s hard to promote an old title when there are so many new games hogging the spotlight. And why wouldn’t that be the case? Games media will want to focus on new releases, and audience members will be looking out for them as well. Promoting an old game is like trying to fill the ocean with seawater: nothing much changes and there’s already seawater in there. A lot of people would’ve known of a game that was released years ago, especially if it’s popular.
That said, TF2 is still unique. It is has a spark that no other game manages to replicate. There is a reason why TF2’s average playercount has been rather consistent across the years. And I suppose that’s another reason why it doesn’t get much promotion. Why put in effort for something that has been consistently performing for so many years? That’ll probably explain the decrease in new content releases as well.
But truth is, this complacency is what will send this game into an eventual and irreversible death spiral. Once you stop adding new content, the player’s interest is now on countdown. Sooner or later, they would’ve felt that they’ve seen everything, and decided to stop playing. And this will continue to the point where the playercount gets so low, the developers will opt to pull the plug. The game is old, they will say, and it had its run. It was a good run, but it’s time to move on.
But is it? The game could still grow. New maps. New game modes. Or maybe even new weapons. With more and more things added into the game, it’ll make adding new things harder, since you’ll need to consider how it’ll work with the old stuff. But it should be possible. Timed events can bring back interest into the game, like the contracts we had for the past few updates. Or maybe Overwatch’s events.
But still, eventually, TF2 will die. Much like all of us. And since it’s a video game, I’ll probably get to see it happen too. It won’t be pretty. It probably won’t even be a dramatic thing. TF2 will most likely fade away out of sight, and Valve will just quietly pull the plug. Time flows, and with it the world moves on. One day, TF2 will be gone.
As much as I accept the fact that TF2 will end one day, I don’t want to see its demise. No matter what, this is still a game I love. There is nothing quite like it, and maybe there will never be one like it.
But for now, TF2 is still here. And that control point is still waiting.