Back in November, Microsoft introduced the Xbox Insider Program, promising to finally open up the Xbox One Preview Program to everyone. There was only one problem; while Insiders would be able to test out new updates for apps and games, they wouldn't receive any system updates.
That all changes today, as the company is releasing the first preview of the Creators Update. All Xbox Insiders will be able to receive system updates before the public sees them.
Also, apparently some Insiders (those that were originally part of the Preview Program and therefore are receiving system updates) have been complaining about too many updates. Because of this, Microsoft will be dividing the Insider Program into four rings, not entirely dissimilar from the Windows Insider Program.
- 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.
If you were to compare these rings to those of the Windows Insider Program, Preview Beta would be Fast, which is typically one a week, Preview Ring 3 would be a bit more frequent than Slow, which would usually be one per month, and Preview Ring 4 would be similar to Release Preview.
One way in which this differs from the Windows Insider Program - other than having more rings - is that Alpha, Beta, and Ring 3 aren't open to just anyone. Microsoft will be sending out invitations to "the most active Xbox Insiders." To bump up your ranking, you can do the following:
- 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 want to sign up for the Xbox Insider Program, just head over to the Store on your Xbox One console and download the Xbox Insider Hub. Run the app and follow the instructions to get enrolled.