Team Fortress 2 is getting a beta for a new competitive matchmaking mode. Valve opened a special community forum dedicated to the upcoming beta earlier this week, in which it will share further announcements and news about the campaign.
A member of the development team confirmed on the Team Fortress 2 subreddit that beta invites will be sent out to this Steam group exclusively. When it launches, the beta will remain closed to those invited.
Details as to when the beta will launch, or what it will entail, remain scant for now. For now, players of the nearly 10-year-old shooter took to Reddit and Steam to express their excitement. The feature's one that players have long clamored for; right now, competitive play in Team Fortress 2 requires wading through the entirety of the game's community. Players have to compete against others who might be at a much higher level, something that matchmaking can alleviate.
Valve revealed plans to introduce the mode last spring, although there was no timetable for its release given then. Speaking to The Daily Dot in April 2015, the developer claimed that the matchmaking feature would draw inspiration from another one of its popular titles, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. Nothing was set in stone then, however, and it's not yet apparent how matchmaking will function in the game.
Team Fortress 2 first launched as part of The Orange Box in 2007, and it's remained one of the most popular titles on Steam. Valve has continued to support the team-based third-person shooter with updates and new items over the years.
Just today, perhaps due to renewed excitement generated by the competitive matchmaking announcement, Team Fortress 2 reached a new peak for concurrent players, with more than 67,700 users actively checking out the game at once. That number's been growing, too, and Team Fortress 2 currently occupies the third spot in the top games list on Steam.