Steam is adding support for built-in beta testing

(Image credit: Valve)

Running a beta test on Steam is normally something of a hassle, because developers have to hand out individual Steam keys to each person who wants to take part. But Valve is apparently trying to eliminate that aggravation by adding a new option that enables developers to incorporate testing signups directly into their Steam pages.

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The new feature was revealed by Steam Database creator Pavel "xPaw" Djundik, who tweeted about its presence on the Steam page for Creative Assembly's strategy card game Total War: Elysium, which is now in closed beta testing. Just underneath the "add to your wishlist" option is a button to request access to the playtest: Click it, and it changes to indicate that you've requested access, and to "keep an eye out for an email notification from Steam when the developer is ready to accept more participants."

Unfortunately, it seems that Total War: Elysium doesn't need any more testers at the moment, because I have not received any word about where I stand in the line. Djundik did, though:

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It's interesting that this update arrived so quietly and without fanfare, given how public Valve has been about announcing, testing, and rolling out new features via Steam Labs, like the Interactive Recommender, Play Next, and News Hub. It's obviously more of a developer-oriented feature than something for end users, but we were bound to notice it sooner or later, right? 

Update: Valve has confirmed that this is a new feature that's recently begun testing, and said that more information and a formal rollout will be coming in the future. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.