Microsoft is making some big changes to the Xbox Preview Program, including giving it a new name. The new service is called the Xbox Insider Program. It was announced today by Xbox's Larry Hryb (“Major Nelson”), who also dropped some other changes.
The idea behind the Xbox Insider Program is to make early preview software available to Xbox users. A change of name also reflects a program that has been expanded to include everyone. The previous Xbox Preview Program was locked to users unless they had an invite from another member.
Mirroring Microsoft's other Insider Programs, the Xbox Insider Hub is open to any users. Of course, gamers will have to have the company's Xbox One, but there are no other restrictions. By being an Insider, gamers get Microsoft's software and new feature earlier, in preview form. In return, the company seeks feedback on these early releases to improve them before launching to public.
One compromise of an Insider Program is that many software builds are unfinished. This means some features are unstable and occasionally they simply don't work. Major Nelson detailed the overall changes coming to the program:
- “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”
Current Xbox Preview members are being rolled over to the Insider Program in stages now. This switch should be complete in the next few weeks, although Microsoft has not said when new members will be able to sign up.
Xbox Insider Program Joins Growing Group
Microsoft's Insider concept has been successful. The programs allow users to interact with the teams behind Microsoft services and provide feedback. The Windows Insider Program and Office Insider Program have previously been launched, while Microsoft announced a Bing Insider Program earlier in the year.