If you want to be an Xbox Insider, Microsoft says you’ll now have to earn it – PCWorld

If you want Microsoft to let you through the velvet of rope of its Xbox Insider programs, be prepared to earn it—and up through four different tiers of beta access, to boot.

A Microsoft support post from Monday night confirms that there are now four rings of beta access within the Insider program, not one, and that applicants will literally be judged on how they participate to earn access. Only the most worthy will get to try out upgrades like the excellent Creators Update features for the Xbox One being rolled out now.

Users who are already part of the Xbox Insider program won’t have to do anything. They will find themselves automatically moved over and assigned to the new hubs over the next several weeks, Microsoft said. (New users who wish to join the Insider program can download the Xbox Insider hub app from the Store, as before.)

The new rings of Xbox Insiders include the highest-priority ring, Alpha, followed by Beta, Ring 3, and Ring 4. Microsoft’s description of the new program utilized both the velvet glove as well as the iron fist: Users were concerned with the frequent updates that Microsoft pushed to Insiders, so the new tiers offer users a way to match the availability of new beta experiences to what users prefer.

There’s a catch, naturally: If you to advance through the ranks, so to speak,you’d better actually use the new software, test it, and provide enough feedback to justify including you. And if you take a break, sorry—your Xbox could drop to a lesser-priority ring while you relax on the beach.

Why this matters: This is an enormous change to the way Microsoft treats its Insiders, allowing the true believers better access. There’s no indication that those fans will receive any news or information early, but it certainly allows those with an extra box or a real lust to be rewarded for their loyalty. It’s too early to tell, though, how Xbox Insiders will respond. Another question hanging in the air: Will Microsoft set up a similar program for Windows Insiders? 

Creators Update updated guide xbox one Microsoft

The new Creators Update for the Xbox One includes a new Guide, which Insiders have already.

Reaching for Xbox One’s brass ring

Microsoft explains the rings in this way:

• Xbox One Update Preview Alpha: The Alpha ring is the “cutting edge,” Microsoft says, and members will receive two to three updates per week, gaining access to new features and fixes “at the expense of potential bugs.”

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