Steam Playtest Introduced, Allows Players to Request Access for Testing

Developers can easily sort their beta versions through Steam's new feature.

November 5, 2020

Steam has rolled out a new Steamworks feature called Steam Playtest which will be an addition to other methods of testing a game out prior to its release. It will allow potential players pre-release access to testing a game through a version of the game that’s similar to a demo, separate from the full-release.

In a blog post, Valve’s Steam states, “Existing tools like demos and release-override beta Steam keys are already commonly used, and they aren’t going anywhere.” However, developers will now get to make use of Steam Playtest. that is a feature built right into Steam that removes the need for players to request beta keys and the like through external sources such as emails or sign-up forms for example.

When implemented by a developer, the game will show an option for players to request access to a Playtest. Steam details that this Playtest happens on a secondary, supplemental appID, which is similar to how demos are handled. Basically, players getting access to a Playtest will find their accounts ownership and playtime being separate from the release version of the game. It’s also noted that Playtest is not a replacement for Steam Early Access.

Those who choose to sign-up for a Steam Playtest, by clicking the button as demonstrated above, will get added to a queue. From there, the developer can choose as many potential testers to include when the testing goes live. Developers can also choose to stop testing at any time or leave it running to keep testing upcoming features. However, when it comes to receiving feedback, Steamstates that for developers, “You can provide links to your preferred feedback or communication system directly in a community Announcement.” More in-depth information is available in the documentation.

Obviously, Steam has indicated it’s not replacing beta keys and other methods of testing early versions of a game out, but this new system could certainly alleviate the hassle of organizing such systems. It’s also a great way to get as many hands on board with testing, such as ensuring Remote Play works a charm before the full game launches.

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Ben Bayliss

Based in the UK and adores venturing through FPS horrors and taking photos in pretty much anything with a functioning photo mode. Also likes car games.

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