Microsoft made PC gamers’ dreams come true last week when it announced the Halo: Master Chief Collection would be available on PC through Steam and the Windows Store later this year, and now you can sign up for a chance to play the game early via the company’s new Halo Insider program.
Both PC and Xbox One players can sign up for the Halo Insider program, which replaces the previous preview program for Master Chief Collection on Xbox One. Halo Insiders get to participate in “public flights,” which are pre-release test events that will be held periodically to test various modes and features for each game in the Master Chief Collection ahead of its PC launch.
Following these events, Microsoft will collect Insider feedback from these early access events through surveys.
How to join the Halo Insider Program
The Halo Insider program is a sweet deal for diehard Halo fans and PC gamers eager for an early look at new titles in the Halo series. However, the program comes with a number of requirements and caveats that are worth noting before you sign up:
The Halo Insider program is only available to those 18 years or older in the U.S. (age restrictions and availability will differ in other regions).
You’ll need a Microsoft account (or an Xbox Live account).
Participation in the program requires users to sign a confidentiality statement in which you agree to not disclose the existence of any of the surveys you participate in, nor the contents of the questions/responses. You will also be prohibited from capturing and sharing video, audio, and screenshots of gameplay, and cannot speak publicly about what you’ve played—basically, don’t play or talk about the game on social media, streams, blogs, etc.
If you’re signing up for the PC public flights, make sure you’re filling out the application on the PC you’ll be playing on, as you’ll be required to perform a system scan that collects information on your PC’s hardware specs.
You will not be invited to all early access events. Which public flights you’re invited to depends on which platform(s) you’re playing on and your answers to the sign-up questionnaire.
As with any beta or early access program, there will likely be bugs and performance issues encountered during the Public Flights. The point of the Halo Insider program is to help the development team test and iron out any issues ahead of launch — so don’t go in expecting to play the full versions of these games weeks or months before everyone else.
If you decide you no longer which to participate, you can opt-out of the public flights at any time.
To begin the application, head over to the Halo Insider page and click “sign up.” In order to be eligible for the early play sessions, you’ll need to provide information on your previous experience with the Halo franchise, preferred game modes, platform(s) of choice, PC hardware specs, and more. These questions will help Microsoft decide which public flights to let you play.
While there is no official word on when public flights will begin for the PC version, it’s likely that Halo: Reach will be the first of the numerous games included in the Master Chief Collection to be tested, since the PC collection will launch first with Reach later this year and slowly add in the other titles - Halo: Combat Evolved, Halo 2, Halo 3, Halo: ODST, and Halo 4 — in the future.