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Henceforth, you must earn your way towards faster Xbox Insider builds

Moving forward, players will have to earn the right to participate in more rapid release rings, posting user feedback, doing surveys, and more. You will not be able to opt-in at will, as you can on the Windows Insider Program. Instead, access will be granted based on points accumulated for participation.

As detailed on the Xbox Insider Forums (opens in new tab), the new Xbox Insider Program will have four rings, similar to the Fast, Slow, and Release Preview rings available for Windows Insiders. The Alpha ring is most similar to the Fast ring, with users receiving 2-3 system updates per week, with higher chances of bugs as a result. This goes all the way to Preview Ring 4, which only receives the most stable builds once per month.

  • 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.

Existing Xbox Insiders will be moved over to the different rings in the coming weeks based on their participation. You can raise your score by leaving feedback, reports, surveys, and doing polls available inside the Xbox Insider Hub. You can even lose access to the more advanced rings if your activity drops, so you better keep that feedback flowing.

Microsoft just launched a new build bringing a revamped dashboard, a new Guide menu, new Cortana features and much more. Head over here for more information on that.

What do you think of the new Xbox Insider Program system? Let us know in the comments.

Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

75 Comments
  • My thoughts exactly on the flood of half done feedback.
  • But do the majority of the people in the preview program leave feedback at all? How many of them will notice the change? In theory at least, the people who would actually read about/notice the changes are the ones who are actually contributing already, and they will be in the first waves of each update.
  • I think it's good. The amount of people that just ***** and moan in the forums when something isn't working right. Hopefully this system will get the more mature people leaving better feedback with less for the less mature to shout at people for.
  • Same happens with the mobile and PC insider programs, just look at the forums here and all the whiners. Should be an across the board change rather than singling out gamers.
  • Maybe they are trying it out with the most accustomed to game and challenges crowd to see how it turns out... If it fails there, it would with the others even more... But I like the idea and agree it should be expended if it works well..
  • Good point.
  • The only thing that I seriously dislike is when a production build messes up my phone. Some things are crashing and my notifications haven't been working since mid December. Texts, emails, and other things don't have a tone unless the screen is on. I've left multiple pieces of feedback and Microsoft still hasn't fixed the issue.
  • So Microsoft want us to earn our way to doing the testing job for them.
    Good luck with that.
  • I'd rather they test on 100,000 consoles, than just the ones on campus, or via an outsourcing company. It is an opt in system, you can avoid the downsides and simply reap the benefits, which is actually a plus. I think the programme is superb. Simply having 100,000 insiders must speed up development many many times.
  • I don't mind doing the testing, I'm an insider on Xbox, pc and mobile.
  • ^This
  • Simple, don't join the program.  Whats the point in being a program like that if you don't leave feed back. 
  • Precisely.  What a scam.  Does Microsoft pay any one who participates?  They should be doing their own research.  But no, why do it when we can get gullible guinea pigs to do the job for us for FREE.  I can see them laughing at their meetings saying "what a bunch of easy fooled people out there.".  And they still take away more features than they provide. 
  • You're getting prolonged software support for a console that could be left the same way it was at launch. You're getting snobby about Microsoft HAVING a testing program for it's software? Ask the Android or PS4 users how quickly they'd jump on that possibility. Microsoft is continuing to make their console better with some community/end user feedback involved. That's unprecedented and offers an interesting take on software development. Don't like it? Stick to the production releases. Really complaining about free software support? I've heard it all...
  • "... and offers and interesting take on software developement.". Really?  What it offers is the outsourcing of what they should be doing. They should be developing a product and sending it to market ready to go.  Without bugs or fixes required.  They found a way to get FREE labor.  And you and anyone else can try to dismiss or sugarcoat that setiment and that's fine.  If you're happy to be doing some one else's job for FREE do it.  That's why they havd a R&D operation.  To your point.  Yes.  I will wait until a production release.  And finally, it's not free software.  You have to purchase a device in order to use that software in which you pay for.  But your labor is being used for FREE without compensation.  You may be good with that.  I'm not.
  • MS aren't using this as free labour - it doesn't even come under that when its simple data collection. They're using it to gather feedback from users, rather than pushing a version they think is right - think of Windows 8 and how they since have taken user feedback onboard during development to avoid similar backlash. MS shouldn't be paying anyone. You sign up, you're a fan, you get the perks of getting the latest stuff and helping shape your experience to how you might like it. MS gets valuable data and suggestions. You want money? Get a proper job, because there's not much effort in giving a few bits of feedback every now and then.
  • My point was why make extra steps and stop people from joint in the testing.
    You stick with your job, I'll carry on with my career.
  • Sorry but I wasn't replying to you. I was replying to Whodaboss above.
  • Public testing is almost always done by every company. Its just they tend to have small focus groups that don't represent everyone. MS improved it. Crowdsourcing is a reality. Mobile Nations gains value from folks participating in forums and comments. You don't complain about that, do you?
  • This isn't a simple public testing.  This is outsourcing an entire swath of their business for FREE.  Passing along information in a forum is just that.  Most people in a forum isn't taking that information to run a multi-billiion business.  But if this makes some of you feel like your doing some noble duty, hey, do your part.  It's a "free" world.  :)
  • This is simple public testing. They still do internal testing. This is just another data point to add to that pool of data. They didn't get rid of the testing they had been doing.
    Getting feedback isn't easy and for this testing to be useful at all, they need to encourage participation. I really don't see the problem with rewarding people that actually participate. MS can't pay people, so this is the next best thing, more access. If you don't put in feedback, then your not doing any testing, so your not really giving MS a fair shake. Taking some surveys and doing some guided tests is not too much to ask Imo.
  • I'm not participating in the insider program out of some noble duty. I get value from it. If I didn't get value from it, I wouldn't do it. If entity A offers entity B for X value, and there are hundreds of thousands of people willing to pay it, why are you getting so twisted up about it? We find value in participating. Real people have influence on what happens to the software. This is absolutely preferable to just sitting around and then getting hit with a new OS. Now we can see it in steps, and influence its direction. Moreover, Microsoft can react to the real world faster. This leads to faster improvements, and faster feature releases (for the public, not just insiders). So, better software is a result. And it's free. Seriously, why are you upset it exists? Don't like it, don't participate. Did the Insiders influence Microsoft to change a feature you liked or something?
  • You'd really be mad if you had anything to do with medical software then. People have to pay a ton of money to get it, and then some get asked to be an early adopter to test new features that are known to be broken, or are likely to break. Nothing can compare to real world testing, especially when you get more and more complex with your software.
  • Show me a single piece of software that is bug free.
  • 10 Print "Hello "
    20 Goto 10
  • "You're getting prolonged software support for a console that could be left the same way it was at launch." I'd love to go back to the Day One Xbox One OS. That's the one I wanted when I bought the console, not all these forced updates that remove the features I care about. Why should I be grateful that they took forcibly removed features I paid for? Just because they added a bunch of features I didn't want? No thanks.
  • I thought you were gonna sue for that.
  • Nobody is forcing anyone....
  • "What a scam."
    Ok, so it's a "scam". So what? Why are you so irrationally angry about this?
  • Think of it more like qualifying. Instead of people just joining so they can get early access to stuff, now they have to do what the program is designed for.
  • It's optional. You do not have to partake in this program. The reason it works is because there are those who are fine with testing new stuff out for free and be apart of the overall shaping of said product. Just because some may find it stupid or a way to get free labor, well don't use it. Microsoft could choose to tie in their rewards program with feedback but I could see that being abused. Either way, as a Windows Insider, I've seen some things Microsoft thought would be great, but due to the feedback from myself and the many others, necessary changes were made to make it even better before it reaches the masses. They could easily have just not have the program and launch something and then get massive backlash from the entire user-base or use a volunteer option that could provide the constructive criticism needed to make the realistic changes. There is nothing wrong with this model. People are fine with providing input on pre-release stuff for free so let them. It has worked so far.
  • I just opted out of the Insider program on my X1. The builds have been getting buggier lately; I don't even bother turning my console on because of it. Hopefully it'll drop down to the normal build once the next patch comes out. Turning this into a game isn't going to make anyone happy. Good luck to MS trying to con their loyal beta testers into "playing" their way to quicker builds.
  • I'd like to be able to choose fast or slow, or even have that option
  • I get why they are doing it because the feedback has been lackluster and some people don't do anything but get builds and provide no feedback whatsoever.
  • As someone in the top 250 in global leaderboard for the Xbox Insider program I am happy to see this. But to note "Reporting a problem" does not contribute to your score. Quests, surveys, and ratings do. The more active your participation the more builds you get. This makes a lot of sense, if you just want to be passive in the program but still see features before they are widely released they have a tier for you.
    But someone like me who enjoys multiple builds a week and detailing problem reports, let me do it and have fun.
    I wish the community could just say thanks but that part isn't for me, rather than, because it isn't for them tearing down the idea entirely.
    This newly tiered program gives people more places to fit in if they want as an insider. Thank you.
  • Well said! I think the complainers want all the new features and it to work perfectly. I think they understand how the mechanics work but dont understand the idea behind it. But its plain you understand both :). Keep forging on! 
  • I'm not sure why they don't allow us to simply opt in to whatever tier we want, like on the Windows Insider program. Is it fair that you will lose access to the alpha tier for taking a break? It seems a little too intensive considering we're volunteering our own time to help test stuff out, especially as someone with limited free time.
  • I would suspect that it has something to do with the amount of calls support gets with things not working right. I'm in the ambassador program and you can bet your grandma that whenever a new preview release is out, a thousand people come flooding in wondering why chat's not working or their games keep crashing. Then after an hour of troubleshooting it finally comes out that they are in the review program and it was one of the known issues anyway. Also have you visited the forums for the preview program? One quick sweep through there should show you why letting people decide their own tier is not such a good idea. I'm pretty sure it's for the better really. I understand there maybe those out there with limited time, but they will also be those that will not have the time to really gut through the console and test as much as possible. They'll more likely just be reporting bugs that those with more time have already discovered and reported. It's been what, nearly three years that the insider program has been running. Though I'm sure they have received a lot of quality feedback, I'm also pretty sure that it's heavily diluted with a lot of crappy feedback. Sifting through all of that is going to be pretty tedious, as well as pretty demoralizing (having seen the quality and amount of destructive criticism). There's probably a few MS employees there having some intensive therapy right now. I'd imagine this is the next step in maturing the insider program. As it was, it was pretty much a free for all. Not only does this reward those that have put in the most time and effort. It'll push out those that aren't really in it to get involved, they just want to get that app quicker or whatever.
  • The fact that "Report a problem" does nothing for your XP is a bit odd considering they want people to report problems.
  • Imagine the cruddy reports people just submit to change their tier...
  • How do u even join the insider to begin with???????
  • It used to be via an invite from anyone else already in it. I think you you just download an insider app
  • How do join now? I downloaded the app but no option to enroll
  • https://support.xbox.com/en-US/xbox-one/console/xbox-insider-program
  • Guess I will need to keep my participation in mind from here on. Or just opt out.
  • An insider build killed my 920 and my first 950. Both were screen related but the 920 lost all input through the charging port as well. Yes I understand the consequences that may arise but I will keep my Xbox and main pc rig clear of insider builds. But in this articles regard I see why MS is making this move. Yet I do see some drawbacks to it as well.
  • That sounds more coincidental. The recovery utility generally fixes insider related issues since it's difficult to physically or permanently break something. It can happen, but is fairly rare, especially to happen to the same person twice. My guess is a faulty charger that you used on both phones. Just a hypothesis though.
  • Well, the 950 I only use the cable that comes with it. Now I have two sets of the USB c because MS did give me a new 950 for replacement. I still use all those cables and work fine on the charging front. The 920 I used a two different cables. One was the cable it came with for charging and the other was a htc m8 for Windows data cable that came with that phone for my PC. So I dunno. I do know the 920 was always a scary thing to mess with as So many reports on that phone gear symbled up. In the end it is just my luck though. Lol.
  • They should open the feedback in the Xbox app (or the feedback app). I am guessing they are getting less feedback is because it is hard to write stuff on Xbox.
  • Perhaps if the Xbox One supported keyboards then it wouldn't be such a pain in the buttocks to leave feedback. :p
  • use the xbox app from windows 10 or a windows phone to type into the xbox ;)
  • Wait, I can use 950 as a keyboard for my x1???
  • Or a PC with W10. Any device that has the Xbox app I believe.
  • That's great. I've honestly missed hearing of that feature. So can I use to surf YouTube and Netflix and the web on my xb1 as well? Or just for feedback? I also wish the YouTube app on xb1 would let me read comments. If it's there I also have missed that function.
  • It varies, some app developers support it, others don't. W10 on PC should support it because of the UWP, meaning they are the same app. I'm just not 100% sure other platforms support it, aka iOS and android.
  • Yes
  • Euh.... Xbox One does support USB keyboards, I think it did from day 1, even the Xbox 360 got USB HID keyboard support years ago with the NXE update. I type most of the feedback using a small USB keyboard I leave attached to the Xbox One for this very purpose.
  • It only SORT of supported them.  You had a decent chance of typing in things for searches in some apps.  But you can't play games using keyboard and mouse on the Xbox One, which is my main reason for NOT playing games on any console.  Keyboard + mouse or nothing.
  • Topic was about not supporting keyboard to write feedback reports, which it does.
  • No such thing as sort of, either it accepts input or it doesn't.
  • If you're using the standard or elite controller, grab a chatpad. Makes typing that much easier.
  • i just got an update. i better get at it fast and start working!
  • So the more you participate, the bigger chance for bugs?
  • Just when I thought the dashboard couldn't get any worse, they are apparently getting rid of the main tile. I am so sick of Microsoft. One thing that BARELY made the dashboard acceptable was that while watching TV you could at LEAST bring up the dashboard and still watch TV while doing other things. 
  • There's a couple of logical explanations for that feature being cut.
    1. It was seen to be causing too many performance issues with games, apps and even the dashboard itself.
    2. The next iteration of OneCore doesn't support it.
  • What do you care, you don't use your xbox anyway.
  • I'm not interested
  • This policy should be implemented in to Windows Insider programme....
  • Users should just give he middle finger to Microsoft with this; MS should be happy that anyone wants to test their crap because they are too cheap to hire proper QC teams, but instead they now penalise users that don't provide enough feedback for testing their crap, lol.
  • The thing is, your average insider wont be affected by this. The real go-getters will just get buggier builds to test out. If you really want to give feedback and test builds you will give feed back and test builds. If you just want to be a data point and be on a faster cycle than normal xboxs (like most do) then it really wont change much. :)
  • all software is basically in beta all the time. you can't remove all bugs. its an arbitrary point where the software is released to the user. you can change to the canary channel for chrome (at least you used to... is that still a thing)? there are a lot of open source software programs that allow you to get on the daily build as well. this is nowhere near a new thing. moreover Android is even picking it up slowly. This is nowhere near achievable with paid labor. This gets better software faster to the public. MS is like the guy who invented pants and you're the other guy in the commercial: https://youtu.be/pmkPIG6KEuU
  • How do u even become a insider to begin with to get the updates? They could've done a better job explaining that
  • Dude seriously, bookmark a search engine. You ask a lot of questions that can be answered in 3 minutes on Bing or Google.
  • New dashboard is faster and no more crash lags to home from games and apps and moving between items
  • I've been a regular giver of feedback for more than 2 years on the insider program, and yet still apparently don't qualify for the latest build.