Xbox Insider program makes it easier to preview games and system updates
You no longer need to pray for a golden ticket to test out Xbox One updates early.
The Xbox Insider program has always been a complex beast, and understandably so. The initiative allows Xbox One owners to gain early access to system updates and Xbox Live-enabled games along with all the bugs and general jankiness that comes with them. If the program was too easy to sign up for, Microsoft would be drowning in complaints from users who might not fully grasp what 'alpha' and 'beta' software really means.
Still, with more and more games trotting out early access versions and open betas, gamers in general are becoming more understanding of the vagaries of in-development software. That's why Microsoft has today announced a restructuring of the Xbox Insider program, making it easier for participants to dictate how early they want to be involved in the preview process.
The biggest change affects how the Insider program's different tiers work. These 'rings' provide a scaling level of access to early builds and features, with the Alpha ring getting the earliest access to games and system updates while the newly-named Omega ring is used for testing only minor changes ahead of full release. Previously, moving from the open Omega ring to higher rings was only possible by invite from Microsoft, but as of today Insiders can join the Delta and Beta rings of their own volition. The only catch is that you'll need to have racked up a few months of solid feedback as an Insider before you can move to a higher ring.
Fortunately, if a higher ring proves too undercooked for your liking, you can always drop down to previous rings without losing access to the higher rings. You can even set up multiple Xbox One consoles on different rings, if you're feeling particularly adventurous.
If you want to jump into the Xbox Insider program for yourself, just look for the Xbox Insider Hub app on the Xbox Store. Provide enough valuable feedback, and you might even be able to test out the new Xbox One dashboard redesign.