Microsoft makes some pretty big changes to Xbox Insider Program

Gaming / Xbox
Xbox-Insider-Program

The Xbox Insider Program now consists of four different rings of access.

Microsoft started rolling out the new Xbox update to select users in the Xbox Insider Program a couple days ago and mentioned that it would be rolling out to all Insiders in waves. A post on the Xbox forums has added some clarification to the way those in the Xbox Insider Program will be getting updates, and there are some pretty big — and welcome — changes.

Back when the Xbox Insider Program was introduced, it was called the Xbox Preview Program. It was a pretty elite group at the beginning. Users could apply but had to be invited. The purpose of the program was to offer users the opportunity to test upcoming changes and provide feedback to Xbox regarding those changes.

As the program moved along, and just before the New Xbox One Experience launched in November 2015, those in the program could invite others. Needless to say, everyone wanted into the program to test out the NXOE before it officially launched and before long Microsoft closed off the invitation program and stop accepting new members. As expected, long-term Xbox Preview Program members weren’t too happy with the sudden influx of “n00bs” into the program as it had become something of an online prestige stamp for some.

That changed last November when the Xbox Preview Program was renamed to the Xbox Insider Program (which falls in line with the naming of the Windows Insider Program) and was soon opened to all Xbox users. A few months later and here we are, with a new Xbox update just around the corner and rolling out to select users in the Xbox Insider Program. As previously mentioned, the update will be rolling out in waves and the aforementioned Xbox forum post is shedding some light onto changes to the program.

The biggest change is the addition of four Preview rings. The Preview rings were created based on feedback due to the number of system updates users were potentially receiving under the program. On the surface, the rings look to increase the frequency of system updates based on the ring you are in, but reading further along you have to earn your spot into the higher rings as they have limited capacity.

  • Xbox One Update Preview Alpha – The first Preview ring, this group typically receives 2-3 new system updates per week during a Preview Update wave. Preview Alpha is the cutting edge, and users in this group receive access to new features and fixes as soon as possible at the expense of potential bugs.
  • Xbox One Update Preview Beta – The second Preview ring, this group typically receives 1-2 new system updates per week during a Preview Update wave. Preview Beta users receive frequent system updates and early access to new features and fixes, with somewhat less risk of encountering bugs.
  • Xbox One Update Preview Ring 3 – The third Preview ring, this group typically receives 2-3 new system updates per month during a Preview Update wave. Preview Ring 3 users receive infrequent system updates, and is suited for users who want early access to new features and fixes with less risk of encountering bugs.
  • Xbox One Update Preview Ring 4 – The fourth and final Preview ring, this group typically receives new system updates about once per month. Preview Ring 4 users receive system updates which are almost ready for public release, and thus receive the fewest system updates and are least likely to encounter bugs. In some cases, Preview Ring 4 users may also receive updated versions of the current publicly released build incorporating new fixes.

In order to move up through the rings, the more active you are in the Xbox Insider Program, the better chance you have of moving up.

To move up and get access to earlier Xbox One Update Preview builds:

  • Complete Quests, Surveys, Quick Polls, and Ratings in the Xbox Insider Hub.
  • Participate in any game and app betas available to you via the Xbox Insider Hub.
  • Provide feedback on the official Xbox One Preview forums.
  • Report bugs via Report a problem.
  • Use your Xbox One console regularly.

Current Xbox Insiders will be populated to the Preview rings gradually over the next few weeks and will receive a system message to notify them if they’ve been moved. To determine what Preview ring you are in, follow these simple steps:

  1. Launch the Xbox Insider Hub on your Xbox One console.
  2. On the main landing page, select Insider content.
  3. Under System, select Xbox One Update Preview.
  4. Select Manage, and the Preview ring your console is currently enrolled in will be selected.

What do you think about the changes to the Xbox Insider Program? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

  Source: Xbox forums
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