Steam now includes a built-in playtest feature that aims to take much of the legwork out of the usual playtesting process by baking a set of new features right into the same platform many devs already use to sell their games.
The feature was first announced and launched into beta last November, promising developers a way to open up access to their in-development game to a limited pool of players without needing to juggle external participant lists or game keys.
According to a blog put out by the Steam team, the final feature looks a lot like that earlier beta. Developers are able to open up Playtest signups through their games' Steam store page, and can then control how many players have access to a build of their game for a limited period of time.
Players are able to request access right through a game's Steam page, and devs can encourage more singups by using pushing scheduled invites, announcements, and update notes to players through a dedicated Playtest community hub.
One notable addition to the full release is the added ability to grant access to only specific countries during playtests. Valve also adds that the feature is structured in a way where running a Playtest won't mess up a game's wishlist, playtime, or user review stats either. More details on what Steam Playtests have to offer can be found here.