What to expect if you choose to test the New Xbox One Experience beta

A few weeks ago Microsoft started letting people who are in the Xbox Preview Program to opt-in to testing the new New Xbox One Experience update scheduled to hit this November. It sounds like a great opportunity since in general being in the Preview Program has let users get their hands on new features without much in the way of drawbacks. Most features have been pretty stable by the time they hit the Preview Program.

The New Xbox One Experience program, however, is different. It is still very much a work in progress. Back in September Windows Central posted a list of issues and some of them were pretty huge, such as popular games like Destiny: The Taken King failing to launch.

This weekend I got into the New Xbox One Experience and while things seem to be better than they were in September, there're still enough odd issues that I would warn most users away from it. If you honestly want to test a build that is incomplete then definitely do so (Microsoft needs testers, after all), but if you're expecting a fairly polished and feature-compete OS update you may find yourself frustrated, and there's no easy way to roll-back if you decide you don't like it. (Rolling back requires doing a factory reset that wipes your hard drive, requiring you to reinstall all your content.)

Just to be clear, I'm not criticizing Microsoft. This is what a preview program is supposed to be for: to get a bunch of people testing and giving feedback before an update is finalized and pushed live to the millions of Xbox One consoles out there. Frankly Microsoft has spoiled those of us in the Preview Program a bit and we've gotten used to a better experience than we should have been expecting.

The good news is that enough works that I can visualize what the final product is going to be like, and I think it's going to be great. I'm not completely convinced they can get it all together by November but we'll see; it's always a guessing game as to how far behind a beta product is from the internal testing build.

This post is more or less just a public service announcement, in case you're in the Preview Program and were considering opting in to the New Xbox One Experience but weren't aware how much is still being built. Microsoft's Mike Ybarra posted on Twitter that they're going to ramp up the number of new users invited in. If, like me, you opted-in and then kind of forgot about it, you might want to think about opting-out very soon if you're not in the mood to be testing an unfinished update during the big holiday release season.

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