Steam is getting a new environment in which beta testers and reviewers can get started with games before they are out. This Playtest makes it easier for developers to control access for certain games that are still being tested.
Steam creator Valve has set up Playtest for developers who want better access control for those who can play their games early on. This is useful for testers or reviewers, for example. Previously, developers could, for example, use Steam keys for this, but that was a complicated detour that also made it easy to fraud.
With Playtest, players who want to log in can request access to a game. You can do this in Steam directly from the page of that game. On the developer side, there is a separate app that can control access. A developer can thus determine which specific users or groups can have access. It is also possible to revoke access for those players or groups at once.
According to Valve, the feature is not intended to replace Early Access. The two programs can also co-exist, the company writes. The difference is that Playtest is free for developers and players, and it is not possible to purchase a game through Playtest. Moreover, Playtest does not contain any achievements and no reviews can be posted.
Valve is currently testing the feature. The company has been experimenting with such a feature since 2015, but is only now releasing it. It is already possible to see how Playtest works with Total War: Elysium on the platform.