Wouldn’t it be easier to just sign up for beta testing and playtesting events via Steam instead of other means? Yes, it would. And wouldn’t it be nicer to have the ability to flag people for tests directly through the client rather than having people redeem beta keys manually? The answer to that is also yes, which is the likely reason behind Valve apparently testing out a playtest button on the Steam client. Clicking it will supposedly flag you in for tests and automatically allow you to just… join playtest events, no further fussing required.
Of course, it’s still an early prototype, with only one game apparently flagged for testing the button (Total War: Elysium), but it would be a convenient step for both developers and players working primarily through the digital storefront. It does appear to be a bit on the buggy side, according to the Twitter thread that found it in the first place, so hopefully that gets addressed before a wide-scale rollout occurs.
Valve shipped play tests on the Steam Store. Anyone can request access to the play test.
— xPaw (@thexpaw) July 24, 2020