Valve has added a new feature to the Steam service that will allow developers to involve people in testing their games directly through the service’s client. You don’t need to use a beta access key for this.
With the Steam Playtest function, interested users can click a button directly in the store on the game page to request access for the beta test and sign up to the queue. Currently, the new feature is already available for Total War: Elysium, Prodeus and Iron Conflict games. And all three games are still accepting applications from people wishing to act as testers.
Developers will be able to see how many people have access to the test, how many people have shown interest and are waiting for access, and how many people have been manually invited to the test. Developers will also be able to add additional testers from the Playtest status screen. When the developers complete the beta test, the button to request access to it will be removed from the game’s Steam store page. After that, the game will also be removed from user libraries.
Valve states that the Steam Playtest feature is not intended to replace the Steam Early Access program. Games can be launched simultaneously in Early Access, and testers can be attracted through Playtest. However, Playtest does not support commercial features or monetization. Valve notes that the Steam Playtests feature is in beta testing and the available tools are subject to change over time. Developers can apply to use Playtest for their game using contact form.
Source: The verge