Steam has launched a new feature, titled Steam Playtest, which eliminates the need for beta keys when playtesting a game.
The new tool allows developers to host playtest signups directly through the game’s Steam store page, with access granted via Steamworks – eliminating the need for beta keys.
Developers will have full control of the playtests, including the number of players allowed to join, when it starts and finishes as well as being able to remove it from players’ libraries once completed.
The player meanwhile can click the playtest button to join a queue, with the developer granting or refusing access in the future. Additionally, developers can invite specific players to playtest through the feature.
“Behind the scenes, the actual download-and-play experience is happening on a secondary, supplemental appID, similar to how we handle Demos on Steam — so a player’s ownership and playtime in the Playtest is separate from the real game,” reads the blog post
“This means Steam Playtest won’t cancel out or compete with Wishlists on your real game, and Steam Playtest owners cannot write user reviews.”
Steam Playtest is currently in beta, and developers are asked to provide feedback as they use the feature. It is not a replacement for Steam Early Access, and does not support monetisation.