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Steam Playtest Gives Developers a Free Way to Test Games With Players

(Total War: Elysium)

Steam developers can already use demos and keys to connect with players. Now they have a new feature in their toolkit: Steam Playtest.

Playtest lets PC game developers grant access for early testing. They control how many players obtain access and for how long. It’s free, but there’s no commerce or monetization associated with it. (Those who want to make money can use Steam Early Access.)

“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,” Valve says.

steam playtest screenshot of the 'request access' button

(Image: Steam)

Developers will use a “child” appID that’s separate from their main game, but Playtests will live on their store page for easy access. Players simply request access, at which point they join a queue of interested participants and are accepted or denied by the developer.

Once the Playtest is over, the developer can deactivate the game, remove it from players’ libraries and delete the Request Access window from the game’s store page. Playtest gamers cannot write user reviews.

The games Total War: Elysium, Prodeus, and Iron Conflict are currently running public Playtests and accepting requests for new testers, according to The Verge. Playtest is still in beta, but interested developers can contact Steam to use it now.

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