A few months back, Valve put out an open call for game demos to be featured in its third digital Game Festival, and hundreds of game developers rose to the occasion.
The Summer Edition of Steam’s online game showcase kicked off this week as a sort of digital game expo to help devs get demos in the hands of players and somewhat fill the void left by 2020’s string of COVID-19 driven event cancellations, and is scheduled to run from June 16 to June 22.
The event sees Steam hosting and featuring a slew of demos for games due out before summer 2021, though the demos themselves are, for the most part, only playable during the week or so of the event.
The list of participating games currently includes over 900 titles, not to mention a schedule of dozens of developer-led streams hosted through the event. It's a sizable crowd for an event that's about offering developers visibility.
Steam as a whole has a notorious discoverability problem thanks in no part to the sheer volume of games released every year, but Valve looks to be putting in work to avoid a similar problem for the week-long event. To make sure as many games as possible get in front of the right players, demos are sorted across 11 different categories, and Valve has also assembled a Featured tab with both algorithm driven and hand-picked highlights. That front page also aims to sort games even further by highlighting titles under tags like story rich, open world, family friendly, and others.
While the Summer Edition of the event is the third Steam Game Festival the platform has hosted, it’s by far the largest so only time will tell how much benefit participating developers will see from the digital game expo or if that experience will be similar to what devs saw during past events.