It’s about to become a lot easier for developers to get their games platested on Steam. A brand new playtest feature is going to allow developers to gather playtesters straight from the Steam storefront.
This new feature is being called Steam Playtest, and Valve has just released its beta concept. The idea is simple: let users sign up for playtesting on the Steam storefront. There’s no mailing lists to manage, no keys to send out–all signups are handled in Steam, with the developer totally in control every step of the way.
When a developer wants to schedule a playtest, they go into Steamworks (that’s the development side of Steam) to determine when the playtest will take place and how many people they want to test with. Then a brand new “Request Access” button appears on that game’s storefront page. Players click on the button to ask to be let into the playtest and are then placed into a queue which the developer can see on their end. The dev then approves however many players from the queue that they requested in their playtest parameters.
Playtests work sort of like how demos do on Steam. They have a secondary appID so that they don’t interfere with the final game whenever it releases. This also means that playtesters can’t write reviews and no data from their tests gets carried over to the final product.
Steam Playtest is free for developers to use and is considered an additional tool to use along with Steam Early Access. Some devs prefer to use the alpha/beta test model of development, while others prefer to have a devoted group of fans continuously play the game during its development. It’ll be up to the developer which model works best for them.
Also, Steam Playtest is still in beta, so it’s subject to change. To request access to try it out, follow this link here.
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