Microsoft has made some big changes to its Xbox Insider Program, the service that allows you to beta test Xbox updates before they're available to the general public.
Although the service is available to all, there are tiers within in that which effect how early you'll be able to test upcoming system updates.
There are four tiers in total; Alpha, Beta, Delta and Omega. Omega is the lowest level, and will get you access to updates that are more or less ready to go out to the public with minor testing.
After that point, the different levels will start to introduce updates earlier and earlier, and users will get to test features that Microsoft hasn't fully fleshed out yet.
Although it's now easier than ever to get involved with the Insider Program, the process can seem complex at first. Here's all the information Microsoft has shared on how to best rise up the ranks.
How to join Omega level of the Xbox Insider Program
The Omega level is the easiest level of the Xbox Insider Program to reach thanks to the fact that Microsoft has now made it open to all.
In order to join it you'll need to download the Xbox Insider Hub app. To do this, head to My Games and Apps on your Xbox One dashboard, select 'Updates', and from there select the Xbox Insider Hub app.
Once you're in the app you can then go to Insider content to select the various previews to test out new features.
How to join Delta level of the Xbox Insider Program
Once you want to move above the Omega level of the Insider Program things get a little more tricky as there are a number of different requirements to reach these levels.
To reach Delta level you'll need to have been an Insider for at least one month. This part seems simple enough.
More tricky is the requirement to reach 'Level 2'. You increase your level by gaining XP, which is done by providing feedback, completing reports and surveys, and participating in Xbox Insider Hub polls.
If you manage to achieve this then you'll be rewarded with around 3 updates a week to try out.
How to join Beta level of the Xbox Insider Program
Getting to Beta level is very similar to getting to Delta level. You'll need to earn more XP through contributing bits of feedback (to reach Level 4), and Beta level will also require you to be an insider member for 3 months.
Reaching this level will give you slightly more updates. Microsoft estimates that you'll get between 8 and 15 a month, which could be a problem if your bandwidth is more limited as these updates could include as much as 60 GB of data.
How to join Alpha level of the Xbox Insider Program
Although Microsoft has opened up various aspects of its Insider Program, the Alpha level is still an exclusive, invitation only club.
Getting to this level will require a large amount of luck, but the best way to maximise your chances is to provide clear, regular feedback on the Previews that you're a part of, and generally participate as much as possible in the program.
If you do this then there's a good chance you'll receive an invite to join the Alpha level of participants. Both Beta and Delta members are eligible to be invited.
If you're an Alpha member then you'll receive the most amount of updates out of all of the program's participants. Microsoft estimates that you'll receive around 15 to 20 a month, with download quantities totalling between 60 and 80 GB.
This is not a level for those with download caps, and nor is it for those who find regular Xbox One updates frustrating and time consuming.
Nevertheless, if you want to try out new Xbox One features before anyone else, it's Alpha level that you want to set your sights on.
- Check out our first impressions of the Xbox One X, Microsoft's next console.