This week, Steam is hosting its largest free-demo event yet: the Steam Summer Festival, which includes over 500 limited-time trials of mostly unreleased games. Like prior Steam “festival” events, this week’s demo showcase essentially works by shifting the usual E3 expo show floor experience from crowded, line-filled halls to the comfort of your favorite PC playing space. Try a time-limited game, “wishlist” it if it grabbed your attention, then move on to the next.
Since we’re well into the span of time that would normally constitute a traditional E3, the Steam Summer Festival is also leaning into that expo’s vacuum by offering its own E3-like content, which is presented in what appears to be a new “Steam Labs” experiment: the “news hub.” This link will take you to a full schedule of gameplay streams, developer interviews, and links to game-specific hubs. Even as we speak, that news hub is filled to the brim with ongoing, developer-hosted sessions, and each feed includes a nifty chat slider so that you can ask devs questions while they’re hosting their brand-new games (or easily hide the chat if that’s not your thing).
Unsurprisingly, most of the games you’ll find at the SSF fall into the “indie” spectrum, though that qualifier doesn’t mean the demos on offer are slouches. Some of the biggest names in the free-demo collection include former Epic Games Store exclusives like Superliminal and the Quantic Dream library (Heavy Rain, Beyond: Two Souls, Detroit: Become Human). Most others are intriguing indies such as the classic-arcade revival of Windjammers 2, the satantic-Atari throwback adventure of Faith: The Unholy Trinity, the wall-running hack-and-slasher Ghostrunner, and the quirky “puppeteer side-scroller” concept of A Juggler’s Tale.
And while a few titles listed, particularly the space-exploration sequel Everspace 2, don’t appear to have live, free demos just yet, we’re hoping any outliers are cleared up before long—though, really, with over 500 demos live as of right now, you’re bound to find something worth installing and testing in the current live lineup. Remember: all available demos will expire on the morning of Monday, June 22, so be sure to pace yourself and find the games you’d like to carve out testing time for this weekend.