Earlier this year, Valve announced some adjustments to their Curator system and hinted at a better way to deal with (sometimes fraudulent) key requests and review copies. Today the Curator Connect feature is live and in open beta available to Steamworks developers.
Here are the most interesting bits from Curator Connect FAQ:
Q. How many copies can I send?
A. You can send up to 5 copies of your game to a particular Steam Curator. Primarily this is for the cases where you have a multiplayer game that individual reviewers within a Curator need to be able to play together. You can send up to 100 copies of your game total via Curator Connect.
Q. What happens when I send a copy of my game?
A. When you send a copy of your game to a specific Curator, the game will appear in a dashboard to members of that Curator with permission to accept games via Curator Connect. Each member with the necessary permission will also receive an e-mail notification alerting them to new games pending via Curator Connect. Each member can then select to accept the game on their account or to ignore the game. You as the developer have a dashboard to see the copies you’ve sent to each Curator and how many have been accepted.
Q. Can I send a pre-release copy of my game?
A. Yes. The game you send to a curator will be immediately playable, regardless of whether it is available for sale yet. You can use this to send preview copies to Steam Curators to get word out about your game prior to your launch. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your game is in an enjoyable state before sending it out.
Apart from making it easier for Steamworks devs to distribute PC copies of their games for review and promotion, this system might significantly cut down on fake review requests and Steam keys reselling on gray market.