If you’re reading the “Gaming” section of Digital Trends, we feel safe in assuming that you have, at some point, played a game developed by Valve Software. Half-Life, Team Fortress 2, Portal; statistically speaking, you’ve probably enjoyed at least one of these titles. That’s great, we’re all very happy for you, but like some kind of hackneyed mafioso stereotype, Valve now wants a favor in exchange for all the enjoyment its given us over the years. Fortunately, in this case, you won’t have to whack James Caan.
Instead, Valve hopes that you might volunteer to test some of its “unreleased games” and “hardware prototypes.” Have a look at the official announcement on the Steam forums:
We’re looking for folks to come to Valve and playtest both released and unreleased versions of our games as well as play around with some of our hardware prototypes. If you have interest in stopping by (most sessions last around an hour), please fill out the survey below. We’re looking for people local to the Seattle/Bellevue area, but you’re welcome to fill out the survey no matter where you live as we may have plans for remote playtests in the future.
Thanks for your interest in helping us make better products!
Assuming you’re in the greater Seattle metropolitan area (or are willing to travel just to play whatever secretive things Valve has in mind), you should click through this link to Valve’s aforementioned Playtester survey. It’s a pretty standard questionnaire that demands your name and email address, along with more in-depth questions about your gaming habits.
If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in Seattle it looks like you may miss out on the initial round of playtester selection, however Valve’s notice has been updated to say that the company will be expanding its call for playtesters in the near future. “We are looking to add international support in the future. For now though, playtesting will be US only,” it now reads. Exactly how “international” this support might inevitably become is anyone’s guess, though we have a feeling that all of Valve’s neatest projects will be shown first to testers at the company’s Seattle-area headquarters.
As for what exactly you’ll be testing, that remains a mystery. Maybe Half-Life 3, maybe a new Valve-branded gaming console. For all we know it might be an interactive, robotic, plush headcrab. Odds are solid that anyone accepted as a playtester will be asked to sign reams of non-disclosure agreements preventing them from discussing the experience under threat of lawsuit, so we don’t expect this event to generate any useful, intriguing news. At least not for those who are ineligible for these playtesting positions (read: those of us who write about video games for a living).