It looks like the rumours and suggestions were true with Valve officially starting a Team Fortress 2 closed beta test for competitive matches. According to a Robin Walker interview with Shacknews, the goal of the closed beta will be all about balancing the game for competitive gaming.
“The TF2 Beta is something we’ve just started running,” said Walker to Shacknews. “It’s aimed at filling a hole in TF2’s iterative development model.”
“This doesn’t reflect any change of our attitude towards non-competitive TF2 play, it’s just going to give us more data,” he added. “We’ll continue to talk and listen to the non-competitive TF2 players,
I am not sure how Valve will go about making this game truly esports worthy as TF2 epitomises Casual FPS gaming on the PC platform. The netcode, Hitscan and extreme lag compensation of the TF2 Orange box engine certainly doesn’t lend itself to hardcore competitiveness though Valve may just pull a scout out of a hat with such an idea.