Back in March, Microsoft's Terry Myerson revealed plans to merge the Xbox Preview Program with the Windows Insider Program, a move that he said would come some time after the Anniversary Update was released. Myerson said at the time that it "doesn’t make sense for these to be separate".
Today, Microsoft's Larry Hryb (better known to gamers as 'Major Nelson') announced that "the Xbox Preview Program is becoming the Xbox Insider Program", adding: "This new name reflects how we are expanding to offer opt-in opportunities to provide feedback on Game and App Previews alongside System Update previews."
Along with the new name, Microsoft is introducing new features as part of an Xbox Preview Dashboard "that has been rebuilt from the ground-up based on fan feedback". Improvements include:
- 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
A 'small number' of the most active Xbox preview members who have provided the most feedback will get the first access to the new features from today. All existing preview members will eventually get the new Xbox Insider Hub "over the next few weeks".
Microsoft is making one further change, and it's quite a significant one. Until now, those wishing to take part in the Xbox Preview Program have needed an invite from a friend already signed up to the program, but Microsoft says that it will now open up the Xbox Insider Program to all users.
However, while "the Xbox Insider Hub will provide great opportunities to try out games, apps, and other console experiences", Hryb said that "Xbox system updates will currently be limited to those already testing them (not open to new members), as we still have a huge number of volunteers already doing a great job testing and providing feedback."
Despite these changes, it's not yet clear to what extent the revised Xbox Insider Program is being integrated with the Windows Insider Program, as Myerson promised in March.
Source: Major Nelson (Microsoft)