Introducing Steam Playtest
Large-scale closed playtesting seems like something that can be kind of a pain in the ass to arrange. Developers are generally left to select hundreds or thousands of players, and distribute unique keys to each of them individually.
Steam is streamlining that whole process. Today, Valve introduced Steam Playtest which is a revamping of how beta testing works on Steam.
Here’s how it works: Players request access to a playtest from the game’s store page. Then they’re placed in a queue that the developer has control over. They can choose how many people are in the test and how many more to grant access to. There also seems to be functionality for manually adding individual users.
It’s quite simple, but this isn’t something that needs to be overly complicated. Playtest seems like it’ll cut down on the hassle of getting people into a beta, especially when you consider that studios no longer have to manage key distribution. That implementation alone should leave a lot of developers eager to give Playtest a shot.