Since the somewhat mixed reception of the Xbox One at launch, Microsoft has worked hard to listen to the fans to shape the development of the console. One aspect of that is the feedback program – xbox.uservoice.com – and another is the Xbox Preview Program. This approach – with a sizable user-base testing and giving feedback on new features – isn’t new to Microsoft. The Windows Insider program allows users to test new PC, phone and tablet operating systems, and Xbox Live had its own Preview Program back in 2011.
The only way to get into the program is with a code, or by invitation from someone who is already a preview member. Although the Xbox Preview Program FAQ page hasn’t been updated since before the New Xbox One Experience dropped in November, the program had halted taking on new members back in the Summer.
According to a post on the only-slightly-semi-official (but generally reliable) Preview Program Facebook group, the program is now taking on new members again, and a test of the Preview Program dashboard app (which members use to invite new participants) does indeed allow invitations to be issued.
However, invitation does not guarantee participation, and there is no forward look timeline to get an idea of what Preview participants might get to test. What we do know is Cortana will make an appearance at some point in 2016. The Chief’s blue A.I. companion and personal digital assistant is slated for a full release on Xbox towards the end of the year. She does, though, feel like the kind of system update that could be in preview for a significant length of time. We also know that the Xbox team is working on background music outside of Snap and this, too, could appear in Preview before a full release.
Are you a Preview member? What’s been your experience? Would you be happy inviting strangers? Why not let us know in the comments?