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article imageMicrosoft's new Xbox Insider Program is open to all players

By James Walker     Nov 8, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has rebranded its Xbox Preview Program as the Xbox Insider Program. It brings it in line with the Windows and Office Insider Programs. For the first time, any Xbox gamer will be able to join up and get access to pre-release software.
Microsoft's Xbox Preview Program has been running since February 2014. It lets involved Xbox users contribute feature requests, bug reports and general feedback to the teams behind the platform. In return, members get access to early builds of new software updates, before the general public.
Before Windows 10 launched, Microsoft unveiled the Windows Insider Program. It allows anyone to download development versions of Windows 10 to help the company test new updates before they're publicly released. Microsoft also has an Office Insider Program. Yesterday, it announced Xbox will be rebranding to be a part of the "insiders" family.
Microsoft said it is making the change because it reflects the expansion of the preview program. The Xbox Insider Program will enable gamers to participate in opt-in opportunities to submit feedback on preview versions of Xbox software. This will include Microsoft-provided system updates as well as third-party apps and games. The original Preview Program was limited to the core Xbox software.
To accompany the new focus, Microsoft has rebuilt the Xbox Preview Dashboard. It's now known as the Xbox Insider Hub, aligning with Microsoft's branding across its platforms. The company has developed a new UI that fits with the styling of the New Xbox One Experience. The app is personalised with announcements, quests and Insider opportunities applicable to each individual user. There's also the ability for multiple console users to submit feedback from one device.
The changes are available from today to "a small number" of existing preview members who have been the most active since the program's inception. The remaining Xbox Preview users will be converted to "Insider" status over the coming weeks. Once the rollout is complete, Microsoft will expand the Insider Program to all Xbox gamers. For the first time in its history, any Xbox user will be able to provide feedback and suggest features from the console's interface.
"Whether you're an Xbox Insider who enjoys previewing the latest Xbox One system updates, or an Insider who loves checking out the beta of the latest installment in your favorite franchise, you'll now get to choose how to participate," said Microsoft. "We hope you enjoy the new experience."
Shortly after it unveiled the Xbox Insiders Program, Microsoft quietly announced that Skype now also has an Insiders Program. Users of the chat app who sign up as an Insider will be able to receive pre-release builds of Skype software, access new features early into their development and more easily submit feedback and bug reports. Microsoft appears to be giving all its most significant software an Insider Program, letting its most devoted users help it improve its products.
More about Xbox, xbox insider program, xbox preview program, Microsoft, Gaming
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