The Xbox Handbook is a book in progress. This chapter is part of our massive look at how to use Microsoft’s entertainment console and gaming services. If you have feedback about this chapter of the guide, leave it in the comments. I’ll address it in an update. The Xbox Handbook will arrive as a downloadable book in the Kindle Store later this year.

Everyone can identify the parts of the Xbox One experience that they can touch or pay for directly. Xbox Live is the service that enables online play. The Xbox One Controller is how you interact with the console. There are things about the Xbox One experience that are less tangible and more confusing for those new to Microsoft’s ecosystem.

What is Xbox Rewards?

What is Xbox Rewards?

xbox rewards

Xbox Rewards is probably the most shadowy part of the Xbox ecosystem, which is pretty mind-boggling. It  isn’t something you can easily find on the Xbox One itself; the console doesn’t acknowledge its existence at all. In fact, you really have to be looking for it on Microsoft’s Xbox website to find it. Shadowy as it is, Xbox Rewards is pretty awesome.

If you have ever used a grocery store loyalty card or even GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards card, you’re familiar with what Xbox Rewards is. Make a digital purchase on your console after signing up and Xbox Rewards gives you points. Go to the Xbox Rewards website and fill out a survey from Microsoft about how you use your Xbox One console. Do that and you’ll receive even more points.

These points stack up. When you reach 5,000, Microsoft deposits the real-world money equivalent of those points in your Microsoft Account. They can be used to purchase television shows, extra content for your games or entirely new games. Forget a meager discount, save up enough Xbox Rewards points and your next movie rental could be entirely free. 5,000 points works out to be $5 in real world currency.

Being a game related add-on, gaming has to factor into it Xbox Rewards somehow. Microsoft gives users a new title in the program as they earn more achievements for their Xbox Live Profile. Naturally, this is to boost your participation on Xbox Live. When you’re an entry member you only receive 1% in Xbox Rewards points back. As your spending increases, you get bigger rebates back on your Xbox Live Gold and digital purchases through Xbox Live. The program tops out at a 10% rebate. Microsoft also hands out free extras and experiences to VIPs.

Getting into the Xbox Rewards Program is very, very easy. Simply head to Xbox and look for the Xbox Rewards button under the Xbox Live option. Xbox 360 users can take advantage of Xbox Rewards too.

What is the Xbox Insider Program?

What is the Xbox Insider Program?

With the Xbox 360, Microsoft delivered big yearly updates on a regular schedule. These updates changed everything. They were how users got Netflix for Xbox 360 before anyone else. They were how your friend’s Xbox Live Avatar had a super-fly outfit before yours did. Today, we have the Xbox Insider Program.

Microsoft treats the Xbox One like a service, constantly updating it with new tweaks and changes based on feedback and what it thinks will help the community as a whole. Users provide feedback about what’s included in the console through an Xbox Feedback website. Because delivering any update requires testing, the Xbox Insider Program exists. Members of the Xbox Insider Program test software upgrades roughly a month before they arrive on everyone else’s Xbox One.

Sometimes these updates are small and contain just a few new features, sometimes they are huge and include new Party Chat apps and customization settings that Xbox One owners have requested for months.

Microsoft attempts to lure users into leaving feedback with Quests. Quests let users try a new feature, then answer questions about how that feature worked. Together with Quick Polls, players build a score that’s sometimes used to calculate how soon they get new features.

What is Xbox Feedback?

What is Xbox Feedback?

Xbox Feedback

Xbox Feedback is how you submit ideas and software changes for Xbox directly to the teams that work on those features at Microsoft.

Available at Xbox.Uservoice.com, anyone and everyone can submit ideas. Those ideas are judged on their merit and voted on by the rest of the Xbox community. Good ideas naturally float to the top of the list and get seen by Microsoft. When something is under review or consideration, teams at Microsoft mark it in on Xbox Feedback, freeing up your votes for other ideas and pitches.