Last November, the Xbox team announced that the Xbox Preview Program would become the Xbox Insider Program, offering additional opportunities to provide feedback along the way. More importantly, we learned that the Xbox Insider Program would be open to all Xbox One users, unlike the Xbox Preview Program which has always been invite-only.
While we didn't heard much about the Xbox Insider Program since then, it seems that Microsoft quietly made it official yesterday along the release of the the first wave of Xbox One features for the upcoming Creators Update (via Neowin). According to a recent post on the Xbox Insider Forums (you may not be able to see it if you're not already a member of the Xbox Insider Program), the Xbox team has chosen to make the Xbox Insider Program consistent with the more popular Windows Insider program by dividing it into four different preview rings. Here are the details below:
- 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.
For now, the latest Xbox One preview build is only rolling out to select members of the Xbox Insider Program, but all Xbox insiders will also be moved to one of these four different rings in the coming weeks, according to the level of feedback they've provided so far. That's right, unlike the Windows 10 Insider program, the Xbox Insider Program will be based on meritocracy, and that may not please those of you who like to live on the bleeding edge but don't want (or don't have the time) to provide feedback on the new features. However, the Xbox team explained that Insiders will have many ways to participate and earn the right to move to a higher ring, including:
- 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.
If you have yet to join the Xbox insider Program, you can do so by downloading the Xbox Insider Hub from the Xbox Store and then follow the steps to enroll your console. Similarly, you will be able to use the Insider Hub to stop stop participating in the Xbox Insider Program whenever you want. We invite you to check the support pages on xbox.com if you need help to get started with the Xbox insider Hub.