Valve is adding a feature to Steam to let developers invite people to test their games right from the Steam client without needing a beta key. The new feature, called Steam Playtest, will let interested testers click a button in a game’s listing on the Steam store to request access and be added to a queue.
Here’s what the button looks like, from the Total War: Elysium Steam page. Prodeus and Iron Conflict are also currently running public Playtests, and Valve tells The Verge that all three games are still accepting requests for new testers.
The button to request access to a Playtest. Image: Steam
Developers will be able to see how many people have access to the test, how many people have expressed interest and are waiting for access, and how many people have been manually invited to a test. Developers will also be able to add more testers from the Playtest status screen. And when developers end a test, the button to request access to it will be removed from the game’s Steam store page and the game will be pulled from user libraries.
Valve says that Playtests aren’t intended to replace Steam Early Access, and that games can even have a Playtest alongside an Early Access version. Playtests also won’t support commerce or monetization. Valve notes that Steam Playtests are in beta right now and that the tools are subject to change, but if you want to try Playtests for your game, Valve has a contact form you can fill out here.