It seems to be like Steam has quietly added a brand new function: timed free game trials. Whereas as soon as upon a time (like every week in the past), getting a ‘free trial’ of a game usually meant shopping for it, attempting it out, and returning it earlier than Steam’s 2-hour refund window closed, it seems that publishers will now have the ability to provide time-limited demos in a extra structured, formal means. 

The primary game to utilize the function is that this yr’s Lifeless House remake, which you’ll play for an hour and a half, however I think about extra will comply with. It is all slightly easy: You simply pop over to the game’s retailer web page and hit Play Now, which can kick off the download in your Steam consumer and allow you to take pleasure in 1.5 hours of a really sad house station. 

The speedrun file for 2023’s Lifeless House, by the way in which, is 1 hour 44 minutes. Maybe you may soak up the complete game and set a brand new file within the course of when you actually blitz it. That feels like an pleasant solution to play.

There isn’t any phrase on if or when the free trial function shall be prolonged to different video games, however I would be baffled if it did not crop up elsewhere down the road. The demo is a little bit of a misplaced artwork in these digital-first days, however I feel there’s nonetheless a starvation on the a part of many to strive earlier than they purchase. With a bit of luck, a Steam-supported free trial system may see demo variations change into commonplace observe once more, or a minimum of extra widespread than they’re now.

That Lifeless House remake is value attempting out, by the way in which. In his Lifeless House evaluation for PCG, our personal Sean Martin scored the game 84% and praised it as an ideal instance of “what Lifeless House has all the time been: an intense, momentum-driven expertise”. Now you may simply expertise that momentum for your self, albeit for one and a half hours.