Box art - Halo: The Master Chief Collection

Halo Insider Program | How to play Halo Reach MCC early

Halo fans were ecstatic to learn that the Halo Master Chief Collection would finally, after many years of promises and teases, come to PC. Perhaps just as excitingly, and more so for current owners of the collection on Xbox One, was the news that Halo Reach would also be coming. Bungie’s last Halo game has long been noticeably absent from the Master Chief Collection, and now it’s finally being added. Furthermore, we’ll show you how to get early access to Halo Reach with the Halo Insider Program.

What is the Halo Insider Program?

The Halo Insider Program is Microsoft’s community-based closed beta program for the Halo games. It gives fans access to Halo games and services early, and allows Microsoft and developer 343 Industries the chance to improve those games, products and services. In other words, it’s a fancy way of saying early access, or a closed beta. Microsoft have launched sign-ups for Insider now, and the first game to be tested will be Halo Reach. Here’s how to do it.

How to sign up and play Halo Reach on PC or Xbox One early

Halo Reach PC

Firstly, head on over to the Halo Insider Program page and click the “Sign Up” button. You’ll first have to login with your Microsoft or Xbox account, which you’ll need regardless of whether you’re planning on playing on Xbox One, Microsoft Store, or Steam. You’ll then be asked a lot of straightforward questions, including what platform you would prefer to test Halo Reach on.

If you’re planning on playing on PC, you’ll also need a dxdiag file to upload your computer’s specifications to Microsoft. Right-click on the Windows key, click “Search” and type in “dxdiag.” Let the program proceed, and then save it as a file. Upload it to Halo Insider when requested. You’ll also have to link the program to your Steam account, too, so be ready with those details.

Finally, you’ll be asked about something called “Console Flighting.” This means, do you want to play Halo Reach, and potentially other Halo games, in early access on Xbox One? If so, click “Yes” and proceed with the further questions. If you want to play on PC, click “No, not at this time” and move on to the next page, which is “PC Flighting.” Click “Yes” this time, and you’ll be asked to upload the dxdiag file and put in your Steam details.

After this you’ll have to choose the days you’re available to play, and the times in the day when you’re available to test the games. Bear in mind that some of these questions can take a while to load, or to upload, depending on how busy the website is. Just keep on going through the questions, waiting if necessary, and eventually you’ll be fully signed up to play Halo Reach on PC or Xbox One in early access, once it becomes available.

When will Halo Reach be available to play in early access beta?

At the moment there is no definite date locked in for Halo Reach early access beta testing, either for PC or Xbox One. The PC version of the Halo Master Chief Collection, and in particular Halo Reach (which is the first release in the collection on PC), has been promised by Microsoft to launch sometime this year, but other than that it does not have a firm release date. Consequently beta testing of Halo Reach has to happen before that, so in 2019 for sure, but it’s hard to be more specific.

However, 343 Industries community manager Brian Jarrard did say during the SXSW event that testing would begin “sooner than people realize” and that it would begin as soon as enough people signed up. In an AMA on Reddit, Jarrard noted that the team’s “priority is getting Halo Reach ready for public flighting,” and that the teams want “to get flighting up and running as soon as possible.” Basically, as soon as enough players have signed up to test Halo Reach in as wide a range of systems and times as possible, public beta testing should begin. Hopefully this will happen within the next month or so, as we’re sure we’re not the only PC gamers eager to finally try out Halo Reach on PC.