Deja-vu all over again!

Major Nelson announced on his blog today that the Fall 2009 console update will be made available to a select group of Xbox Live subscribers (both Gold and Silver are eligible to sign up but Gold (in other words – paying subscribers) get priority) . All that you have to do is head over to Microsoft Connect and fill out a short survey at (shortcut link). Make sure you have your Console ID and Serial Number as well as your Gamertag handy to complete the survey.

Major makes it very clear on his blog that there is no guarantee anyone who completes the survey will get in – in fact he points out 4 keys elements for this program:

  • We’re looking for multiple thousands of participants, so your chances of making it in are good
  • This opportunity is open to all Xbox LIVE Members in regions where Xbox LIVE is available.
  • Just completing the survey does not automatically get you access to the Preview Program. We’ll be making final selections from the completed surveys and send you an email if you are selected.
  • While both Xbox LIVE Gold and Silver members can sign up, Priority will be given to Gold members in the selection process.

Expect to hear from them around 31 July to see if you get into the preview.  System wide release of this fall update is expected shortly after this preview is complete. Out at Comic-Con International 2009 they announced the 11th of August as that date.

I wonder how much this years preview program will be like last years when the New Xbox Experience (NXE) was introduced.  The NXE was a radical make over of the Xbox360 console and so users were clamoring loudly to be part of that process.

In fact, the original blog entry that major Nelson did last October has 1,346 comments and there are even more comments on later posts that discuss the opportunity to get in the preview program for NXE. Even USA Today offered free NXE invites and users signed up by the hundreds if not thousands.  That USA Today post last November has over 3,000 comments and honestly towards the end some not so nice comments as well!  Turned out there was an issue for those that signed up and lots of confusion of who was in and who wasn’t.  Ultimately it appears no one that signed up with USA Today got the NXE through that avenue.

I did get into the preview last year in one of the last batches to be admitted through Microsoft Connect and it was neat to get the early peek.  I am sure we were helping to load test the servers and the interface itself but I do not believe any significant changes were mode to the new console interface as a result of the preview.

Here we are now this year with what appears to be a large update to the console but it is new features to the NXE as opposed to an entire makeover.  I think the enthusiastic Xbox Live gamers will be applying by the truck load anyway just to get a look at the interface before everyone else – geeks and gamers are just that way!