While Steam already gives developers tools for pre-release testing in its Early Access program, Valve is introducing a new way for developers to get their games tested with Playtest. The new system will allow devs to manage testing periods without handling keys or mailing lists.
The new feature has gamers sign up for a test on a game’s Steam page, with all the management happening directly through Steam. It looks like an easy, more simplified way to handle testing, which should be useful for indie developers with smaller teams.
Playtest allows devs to control how many people can access the playtest at once, while automatically registering interested users on a standby waiting list. Then, the developer can automatically add more users to the test or simply end the test as needed.