Valve has announced the official release of two new features on Steam at once. Playtest and simplified game search came out of beta. We share details about each of them.

Playtest function

The beta version of Steam Playtest appeared on the Valve platform last November. Then the company said that developers no longer need keys or external mailings to invite gamers to test the game. The old tools were still working, but the playtest allowed you to do it directly from the project page on Steam.

To participate in the beta, developers had to submit an application. According to Valve, over the past time, 161 developers and more than millions of gamers have used the playtest.

Now all game creators have access to the playtest. In addition, the company has slightly improved the function, adding to it the ability to test only for gamers of a certain country. According to Valve, this will be useful for developers who have local servers and who want to conduct a load test before inviting a large number of players.

The company also said that during the testing of the game, it is possible to create separate community centers for it. There you can place ads and events separate from the main center. For example, to share news about the title test with the players or to clarify the timing of testing.

Improved search

The beta test of new ways to search on Steam started in December last year. Valve was going to split the entire catalog of games into 63 categories, including the “Adults Only” category.

Every Steam user could connect to the beta. The company did not tell how many people did it.

Nothing has changed radically in the search since then. As planned, the company has added two new menus: “New and notable” and “Categories”. But each of them has had its own small changes.

For example, in the “New and Remarkable” there was no section with the largest events that take place on Steam: it was supposed to contain seasonal events, sales from publishers and game festivals. Perhaps this button will be added later.

As for the “Categories” (a large-scale menu with a search by genres, themes and player modes), Valve has mostly done with renaming and slightly changed the composition of the sections. For example, the section “communication and players”, where you could see the breakdown into cooperative, MMO or single-player games, is now called “number of players”. And in the “themes” section, more than half of the categories were replaced with others (topics like LGBTQ+ and female protagonists disappeared, but anime and the open world were added).

Also, the heading “Special sections” has changed slightly, where you can find demos, early access games, soundtracks and much more. The category with games for adults only has moved from it to the section with themes.

However, the rest of the things remained virtually unchanged and became available to all Steam users.