Microsoft Announces Xbox 360 Preview Program

Posted on March 3, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Xbox 360 with 0 Comments

Microsoft will soon start an invite-only Xbox 360 Preview Program, similar to that on the Xbox One, which will allow selected users to preview console system updates before they’re released to the general public.

This is a great idea, so much so that I’m a bit curious what took so long: after all, the Xbox One Preview Program has been going strong for about a year now. But .. there are so many questions.

In a curt post to his personal blog—I can’t stand when Microsoft doesn’t handle this kind of thing more formally—an Xbox executive notes that the Xbox 360 Preview program will start in early March (i.e. imminently) and will be available to “select invitees,” whatever the heck that means, and not more generally to a wider group of rapid Xbox fans who would probably be both happy and excited to do this testing.

If you’re selected—and there is literally no explanation how that happens—you will be able to sign-up directly from your Xbox 360. Just look for a special Xbox Live message and then head to Settings, Account Management, Account, and if you’ve been selected, you’ll see an Xbox 360 Preview Registration entry.

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Use that to sign up and enroll your console in the preview. In the future, you’ll receive a second Xbox Live message letting let you know that the Preview is ready to begin.

With the Xbox One, Microsoft issues new system updates nearly every month on a very regular schedule, and while one might argue (credibly) that such regular updates are required given the unfinished state of the software, I’m curious how this will work on the 360. With the Xbox 360, system updates—and smaller updates—are much more sporadic. I’m hoping for a formal explanation of each update, as Microsoft provides with the Xbox One. But there is absolutely no information in this post about the schedule, timing or frequency of the expected updates.

In fact, the post references exactly one upcoming update, though I have to think there will be more.

“In our upcoming release [we] [sic] will be addressing common customer issues including improving the ability to troubleshoot common network issues from the 360 and adding a Network Connectivity test including Download and Upload speed tests,” one giant run-on sentence notes. So those are the expected “new features,” at least for the first update. There will be “even more changes” coming later this year, the post notes.

“Sign up to be a part of the Xbox 360 Preview Program,” the post concludes. If only you could.