Video games have entered the era of esports, where if executed correctly, just about any team-based game can jump into the realm of competitive gaming. So what's taken Team Fortress 2 so long to get into this sector of gaming? That's probably a question that somebody at Valve asked while preparing for future rounds of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, but the wait appears to be over. Team Fortress 2 looks to be preparing to implement competitive matchmaking, with Valve announcing that it will start issuing invites for the game's Competitive Beta next week.
"We know you'd all like to start testing now, and eventually we hope all of you WILL get a chance to play and share your thoughts," said Valve's John Schoenick on the newly-formed Team Fortress 2 Competitive Beta Steam Group. (via Valve Time) "But remember that all testing happens in stages, and right now we're at stage one. Our plan is to start small and increase participation as we go. For this initial phase of testing - which will begin in the next week or so - we'll be gradually granting random members from this group an in-game item called a Competitive Matchmaking Beta Pass. Once you've been granted a pass you will have ongoing access to the beta. In addition, we will begin holding both announced and unannounced stress-test events, inviting many group members to participate for the duration of the event to test our systems. Group members selected for stress-tests won't require a pass to play for the duration of the event."
To become eligible for a competitive beta invite, users must have either purchased Team Fortress 2 prior to June 23, 2011 or have made a purchase from the Mann Co. Store. They must also have Steam Guard Mobile Authenticator enabled and a phone number associated with their Steam account.
There is no word on how competitive Team Fortress 2 will work, but the official TF2 wiki defines competitive sessions as 6v6 or as
the melee-only Highlander mode. There's an outside chance that games could function as 9v9 Highlander with one person taking each class, but that may be a bit cumbersome to set up. We'll know more once competitive beta invites are sent out next week.