Steam launches new Playtest feature, without the need for beta keys

Steam has launched a new feature, titled Steam Playtest, which eliminates the need for beta keys when playtesting a game.

The feature was quietly tested back in July when it appeared on some select games, but it has now been officially announced via a blog post from Valve.

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.


About Chris Wallace

Chris is MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer, joining the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can regrettably be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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