Although the Windows Insider Program tends to get all the bright lights about the number of releases for testers, currently the Xbox Preview Program is averaging more preview build releases compared to its counterpart for Windows.
A typical week usually results in at least two preview builds released for the console compared to just one for Windows 10 on PCs and Mobile devices.
The draw of these preview programs is early access to new features and capabilities on the systems. In addition, it also provides feedback, both written and via telemetry, to Microsoft product teams on how the operating systems are performing.
Well today, the Xbox team announced a rebranding of their current preview program that will result in some significant changes to what everyone is use to seeing in the program.
Here are the key elements of the new Xbox Insider Program beyond the name change:
- Opportunity for Game and App Previews
- System Update Previews (see more on this below)
Included in the new program is the brand new Xbox Insider Hub which will replace the current Xbox Preview Dashboard. According to Microsoft that app has been redone based on user feedback and will include features such as:
- A new name – the Xbox Insider Hub
- Personalized to give you more relevant announcements, quests, and Insider content opportunities to get early access to select games and apps
- A new UI, inspired by the New Xbox One Experience, makes it easier to find the right info and provide more robust feedback
- The Xbox Insider profile card where your contributions in the program come front and center
- Support for multiple users on a console to participate and provide feedback
The new app will be rolled out gradually beginning with preview program members that have been very active in providing Microsoft feedback in teh existing preview program. Following that process they will slowly begin to push that app update to other consoles that have the Xbox Preview Dashboard installed over the following few weeks.
Finally, there are two significant changes to the program as it enters this new Xbox Insider Program phase.
First, everyone with an Xbox One can join the new Xbox Insider Program. No invite required from one of your friends or anything else. As mentioned earlier, members of the Xbox Insider Program will be able to try out games, apps and other console experiences as members of the program.
Second, and this is the big one, members of the consoles Insider Program will not be eligible to receive system updates such as those builds released under the current preview program. If you are already a member of the current preview program and are already receiving the regular build updates then you will continue to be eligible to receive those under the new Insider program but no new members will be granted the ability to download those testing builds.
So no more invites can be requested from Microsoft or your friends to get those preview builds. The new Xbox Insider Program will be an opt-in program and not require any invites to participate since it will be open to all console users.
So in summary:
- Xbox Preview Program is being renamed to Xbox Insider Program
- Only those testers that are already receiving system build updates in the preview program will continue to be eligible to get those builds under the new insider program.
- Everyone will be eligible for the Xbox Insider Program - no invites required.
Basically, if you wanted a parallel comparison to the Windows Insider Program, the new Xbox Insider Program is the Release Preview Ring where you get to see app updates before they are widely released along with some new features that can be lit up on the backside by Microsoft.
You can read more about the new Xbox Insider Program through the new Frequently Asked Questions page.