Steam Next Fest is a multi-day celebration where fans can try out demos, chat with developers, watch livestreams, and learn about upcoming games on Steam. For developers, Steam Next Fest is an opportunity to get early feedback from players and build an audience for a future launch on Steam. Steam typically hosts three editions of Steam Next Fest each year, which take place in February, June, and October.
Below is information relevant to all editions of Steam Next Fest. See precise eligibility criteria, timelines, and other details specific to each edition in the respective event documentation pages (accessible via the documentation table of contents to the left).
Table of contents
Each edition of Steam Next Fest has a specific deadline for registration, available in the respective edition documentation page (accessible via the documentation table of contents to the left).
Steam Next Fest is open to upcoming games that meet all of the following criteria:
- Associated with a Steamworks developer account in good standing
- Visible on Steam as Coming Soon at the time of registration
- Includes a publicly playable demo by the time the event begins
- To be released after the conclusion of the edition in which it is participating
- All upcoming games may participate with a playable demo in Steam Next Fest, regardless of planned release date.
- Choose the Steam Next Fest that works best for your release time. Once your demo participates in an edition, it may not appear in any future Steam Next Fests.
To register your game, complete the following steps for each game you plan to submit prior to the respective event's registration deadline:
- Set up and publish the Coming Soon store page for your BASE game (not your demo). This base game page is where your demo button will appear and where players will learn about your game. You will need to have a Coming Soon page set up and publicly visible in order to complete the registration. If you would like to best position your game in consideration for potential inclusion in official Steam Next Fest marketing materials (main event trailer, livestream, genre trailers, etc.), ensure your most up-to-date marketing materials are published.
- Verify that you've selected at least one category for your title in the Registration Checklist.
- Complete the Registration Checklist for each game you wish to participate. Note that you need to register your BASE game for the fest.
Completing Your Demo Setup
Steam Next Fest is built around the concept of giving players a chance to get hands-on with a playable demo of your game. On Steam, that means setting up a specific demo type app, which is attached to your full (base) game on Steam. To learn about creating, testing, and releasing a demo, please see the Demos documentation
- Upload and configure your demo on Steam.
- Submit your demo store assets and build for review at least 3-5 business days ahead of your relevant deadline (see specific deadlines in the event-specific documentation):
- Submit for review no later than 6 weeks prior to the fest if Valve has contacted you regarding consideration for official marketing materials inclusion.
- Submit for review no later than 3 weeks prior to the fest if you plan to release your demo just prior to the Press Preview.
- Submit for review no later than 1 week prior to the fest if you plan to release your demo just prior to the fest start.
- Release your demo. You can release your demo at any time once it has been reviewed and approved. We encourage you to release your demo a little before the fest starts to make sure it's working properly and you have enough time to troubleshoot any issues before the festival begins.
- Release 10 days prior to the fest (or earlier) if you'd like your demo to be playable for press during the Press Preview.
- Release on the day of the fest if you just want your demo to be available during the Steam Next Fest public event.
Running a Livestream (Optional)
During each event, you have the opportunity to livestream your game so potential players can see what it's like to play your game and interact with the developers behind the game.
The livestream scheduling tool will become available not long after registration for a given edition closes; its availability will be communicated via email. Once available, you will be able to create up to two special Steam Next Fest Livestream events
within the Steam Events & Announcements tool—the same place you go to post announcements and schedule other forms of events for your game—to have your game listed in the livestreaming schedule and have Steam promote your livestream to players. While all active livestreams will always be available at any time for players to browse, during your scheduled time your livestream will be featured more prominently. Read more about scheduling livestreams for Steam Next Fest
If you plan on livestreaming, test that you can do a livestream of your game and schedule up to two Steam Next Fest Livestream events to appear in the official schedule; the scheduling tool will be available once registration for a given edition has closed. Here are the steps for streaming a demo on Steam: Broadcasting a Game Demo to the Steam Store
If you have a VR game and would like to set up a livestream, there are additional factors to consider. Because of the way the SteamVR.exe service interacts with broadcasting, you'll need to use an external tool (such as OBS). That will give you the necessary control to configure your broadcast and let you point Steam directly at your game appID rather than SteamVR.exe. For more details, please see Setting Up A Stream
Additional Setup Items
Be sure to review the (ever-growing!) list of Steam Next Fest Tips
and/or join a live Q&A session with members of the Steam Business Team (schedule provided in the timeline for each edition) to learn how to make the most of your participation in Steam Next Fest, but here are a few key things to make sure to do:
- Tell your fans you'll be participating in the fest and encourage your fans to give your demo a try! An asset kit will be shared in the respective edition's documentation page, as well as via email to registered games, to help you promote your participation.
- Check your Community Hub and other social channels for feedback on your demo.
Trailer and Demo Gameplay Usage
For the promotion of Steam Next Fest, our curation team selects 20-30 games to feature in our official livestream and one or more video trailers that we share with press, post to social media, and feature on the homepage of Steam.In order to remain in consideration for inclusion, you must:
- Participate with your demo in a given edition of Steam Next Fest.
- Have received an additional opt-in request from Valve (typically ~10 weeks prior to event start) specifically indicating that your game is in consideration for inclusion in official marketing materials and have completed this opt-in.
- Have at least one publicly visible trailer on your store page.
- Have a playable build of your demo submitted for review and approved by 6 weeks prior to the fest (see the respective event's documentation page for specific deadline). You may continue to update your demo at any time and may publicly release your demo any time you choose prior to the fest start.
If you authorize trailer use and we use your game's trailer, we'll make use of one that is publicly visible on your store page as of 6 weeks prior to the fest. If you authorize gameplay use, we may grant our Steam Next Fest event team access to the demo using Release Override Steam keys anytime up until the event starts, and the team will decide whether to use the demo gameplay.Please Note:
To best position your game in consideration for potential inclusion in official Steam Next Fest marketing materials (main event trailer, livestream, genre trailers, etc.), ensure your most up-to-date marketing materials are visible on your base game's store page prior to a given edition's registration deadline.
Press Preview Event Details
We’ll be offering select press outlets the opportunity to explore the full list of games registered for Steam Next Fest starting 10 days ahead of the given edition. The press preview page will give these outlets a chance to explore participating games and browse by genre, theme, style, etc. and learn about your game through the store page you already have up. This will allow press outlets to see what's coming up, play any of the demos that are already available, and reach out if they’d like to learn more about your game ahead of the fest.
Here are a couple of things to know about the press event:
- The press preview will include all games registered for Steam Next Fest. If you intend to withdraw from the event, please cancel your registration prior to the Press Preview.
- Press will be free to cover the included games at any time, in any format (writeup, video, etc.). Some may want to give players a preview of games they're excited about ahead of time.
- If you'd like your demo to be accessible by the press during this event, please simply prepare and release your demo on or ahead of the press preview event start. Make sure you plan for 3-5 days for your demo build to be reviewed ahead of release. Please note that releasing your demo will make it playable for everyone on Steam, not just press.
- If you provided press contact information for your game on the Steam Next Fest registration form, we'll share that information with press in case they wish to get in contact with you.
- The press preview will be conducted with a set of press outlets that we are specifically contacting for this purpose.
If you're concerned about missing out on launch excitement if you release your demo early for the Press Preview, note that demos don't have the same level of launch visibility on Steam as a full game, so it shouldn't be very disruptive to release a demo ahead of a given edition of Steam Next Fest. But, we also can't guarantee whether any press will or will not play your demo. It's up to you and whether you feel you are ready.
Game Visibility Within Each Event
When you register your game for a given edition of Steam Next Fest, you will be asked to choose the one or two primary categories that best fit your game. These categories determine in which tabs your game can appear within the fest. Then, within each tab, the fest is broken down into sub-genres. Your game can appear in one or more of these sub-genres based on the store tags applied to your base game. For more information on tags, please see the Steam Tags
A developer preview page will be available before the start of the event so you can see how the fest will be organized and where your game is positioned within the fest. If you have issues with your game showing up on the Steam Next Fest page, there are a few things you can check to determine the cause:
- Ensure that your base game is properly registered for the fest and that you've selected one or two categories for your game on the registration form. You can also visit your game's Steam Next Fest registration page (link available in the respective edition's documentation page) to see a list of the categories and sections that your game is listed in.
- Make sure you have released your game demo before the start of the fest. Only games with released demos will be eligible to appear on the fest pages.
- Make sure the store tags applied to your base game are accurate and complete. You may want to compare your store page tags with the categories and sub-categories listed within the Steam Next Fest developer preview page and make any changes to your tags if necessary. For example, if you believe your game should be appearing in "Point-and-click adventure" games section, make sure that you've selected the "Adventure" category on the registration form and make sure your base game has the tag "Point-and-click" applied to it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are Early Access games eligible to participate in Steam Next Fest?
Members of the Steam Business team periodically hold live Q&A sessions for developers to ask questions about registering for and getting the most out of Steam Next Fest. Upcoming Q&A sessions are noted in the timelines for each edition, detailed in the event-specific documentation (accessible via the documentation table of contents to the left). Please access all previous session recordings via this YouTube playlist
A: Only games that have not released a playable build yet are eligible. If your game is already released and available in Steam Early Access by the start of the fest, then your game is not eligible to participate in Steam Next Fest.Q: Are games that have had or currently have a Playtest available eligible to participate in Steam Next Fest?
A: Playtest does not affect eligibility. However, we do not recommend having a Playtest live during Steam Next Fest, as this splits your players between the two opportunities versus concentrating them around Steam Next Fest during the limited window the event runs.Q. Are free games eligible to participate in Steam Next Fest?
A. Steam Next Fest is built around the concept of displaying demos that are associated with a full game. So, if you're making a game that you intend to be free in the future, you can still participate by creating and releasing a demo
. As with any game, you would still register your base full game for Steam Next Fest.Q. What if I end up releasing my game before or during a given edition of Steam Next Fest?
A. Only unreleased games are eligible to participate in Steam Next Fest. If you release your game prior to or during Steam Next Fest, your game will become ineligible and will not be included in the fest pages.Q. Can I submit a different version or edition of my game that already participated in a previous edition of Steam Next Fest?
A. You may not submit a different version or edition of a title that has previously participated in Steam Next Fest. Prologues, Chapter Ones, and other short-form previews of another title are also not allowed in Steam Next Fest. Please sign up with your base game.Q. Can I submit a re-release of an existing Steam game?
A. Steam Next Fest is intended for new games that have never been playable on Steam before. If you are releasing a new edition of an existing game, then your game is not eligible for Steam Next Fest.Q: Do I need to have my game and store page reviewed in order to register?
A: Yes, your base game's store page must be publicly visible in order to complete registration. Additionally, the Valve curation team looks at each store page (starting immediately after registration for a given edition closes), including any screenshots, trailers, and description to determine which games we will be highlighting during the fest.Q: Why isn't my game listed as eligible to be registered?
A: Some common issues may prevent you from registering. Ensure that:
Q: How long should I leave my demo up after the conclusion of the Steam Next Fest edition in which I participated?
- The store page for your game is set visible as 'Coming Soon'
- You have the correct partner selected at the top of the Steamworks website if you are a member of multiple Steamworks partners.
While it's up to you to decide what works best for your release strategy, we encourage you to consider leaving your demo up for at least a week beyond the conclusion of the Steam Next Fest edition in which you participated. Many players download demos with the intention of playing after the fest ends, so communicate to players if you plan to deactivate your demo so they can prioritize playing it accordingly.Q. How can I ensure I receive the relevant communications about Steam Next Fest?In Steamworks:
In the Steam Store:
- If you're a member of multiple Steamworks partners, make sure you have the correct partner selected at the top of the Steamworks website.
- Ensure you have at least one account with "Receive Steamworks communications" enabled. You can edit per user here: https://partner.steamgames.com/pub/users/ Note that accounts with this permission setting must also have completed or must newly complete the additional confirmation request sent via email authentication in order to fully enable permission.
If you prefer to remain opted out of all communications, you may still participate in Steam Next Fest. However, the only indication of your eligibility for both the event overall and for the marketing materials permissions opt-in (if your game has been selected for potential inclusion in our official marketing materials as described above) will be via the options below:
Q. I've changed my plans. How do I cancel my registration?
- Access the registration page for your game by appending your appID to a given edition's registration opt-in URL (provided in the event-specific documentation).
- Check for the opt-in on your base game's App Admin page (in the Marketing Tools & Data section): https://partner.steamgames.com/apps/landing/<appID>
A. Just return to the registration page for your game by appending your appID to a given edition's registration opt-in URL (provided in the event-specific documentation) and deselect the checkbox at the very bottom of the page to remove your game from the event.
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