It may only be March, but everyone's looking ahead to the big summer bash, including Valve. They'd already announced that their demo blast week would be coming back again this summer but oh wait, it's got a new name. The Steam Game Festival is no more. Enter the Steam Next Fest. That's what we'll be poring through when it returns this June.
"We've renamed the Steam Game Festival to more directly communicate its focus," Valve say on their new event page. "Announcing Steam Next Fest, a multi-day celebration of upcoming games." Next Fest rolls off the tongue nicer anyhow, and now it doesn't have such a tragically similar name to Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest shebang. Yup, no complaints here. Ta, Valve.
Aside from the name change, it sounds like we can exect about the same from Next Fest as we did from their previous demo weeks. It will include hundreds of free demos for upcoming games along with livestreams by developers.
When they first announced this summer's event, Valve did mention that games will only be eligible for this summer's event if they weren't already featured in the Game Fest events from last autumn or this February. They'll also need to be scheduled for launch after Next Fest but before January 2022. That means you'll be speed dating with demos that you should be able to play the full games for within the next six months.
These demo events are always just a bit overwhelming due to the number of options, but I've managed to get by in the past by forcing myself to pick just one game to play. Doing more is grand, but if I can just tackle one demo I'll feel like I've gained something. In February I thought Potion Craft was rad, which you can still play the demo for. If you're curious, Alice Bee rounded up the best demos from February's festival, some of which have properly launched now!
Steam Next Fest is still scheduled for June 16 through 22nd.