Steam Early Access: A New Community Effort by Valve

By Published March 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Valve has long stated its beliefs in a community-driven gaming environment, as evidenced in the tools the company has released for its own Team Fortress 2 and other titles; they see gaming as an ecosystem that can be sustained better by players than by developers, in part due to numbers, in part just because gamers are closer to the end product given their nature of being isolated from the development process.

In continuing this philosophy, Steam is now equipped with "Steam Early Access," a platform that allows players to play games pre-release and aid devs in testing for bugs and feature requests.


This is a bit more than the usual beta testing platform offered by devs, though; using Steam's extensive community framework, such as its Greenlight and screenshot sharing services, Valve hopes to facilitate better bug-testing and feedback response on the development-side to encourage more stable product releases. The system is able to implement version iterations rapidly and distribute them to the signed-up playerbase, who then playtest and report issues for the next release.

Players can sign up for early access to specific titles -- effectively beta or alpha testing, as we know it -- but are able to use built-in feedback and bug reporting services to aid devs in issue detection. Screenshot sharing and other features are already enabled.

Steam Early Access is first made available for the following titles:

  • 1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby)
  • Arma 3
  • Drunken Robot Pornography
  • Gear Up
  • Gnomoria
  • Kenshi
  • Kerbal Space Program
  • Kinetic Void
  • Patterns
  • Prison Architect
  • StarForge
  • Under the Ocean


It seems to be a great way to test out games early, and hopefully works as planned to create more stable end-products.

Let us know if you have questions. Sign up here:

- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.

Last modified on March 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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