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Valve Launches New Steam Playtest Feature

Valve has launched a new feature called Steam Playtest, which allows developers to send invites for game testing “without having to manage keys or external mailing lists”.

Instead, players will be able to see a “Request Access” button on a game’s store page, similar to the green purchase or install buttons that we have, which automatically puts them in a queue that developers can see on the backend. Deactivating the play test will remove both the button and the Playtest from player libraries.

Image source: Steam

“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,” said Valve. “This means Steam Playtest won’t cancel out or compete with Wishlists on your real game, and Steam Playtest owners cannot write user reviews.”

“The goal of this feature is to give developers a free, low-risk way to get playtesting data for their game without stressing out about Steam keys, user reviews, or wishlists,” the company said in a separate documentation.

Image source: Steam
Image source: Steam

Valve also noted that developers who are seeking to keep their playtest confidential should use other methods. “Players signing up for a Playtest aren’t under nondisclosure agreements with you, and there shouldn’t be an expectation of secrecy. If you want to run a confidential beta and require players to agree to an NDA, you can still use Steam release-override keys, but you’ll need to use your own solution for signing up and registering players,” it said.

Steam Playtest is currently in beta and won’t replace Steam Early Access, with Valve saying that the former can be used alongside the latter. It’ll be free to use for developers and signups will also be free, although in-game monetization during a Playtest seems to only be dissuaded by Valve rather than outright restricted. “If you’re ready to charge money for a work-in-progress version of your game, you should use Steam Early Access,” Valve said. #valve #steam #steamplaytest


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