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Skype has announced free group chats for the service across all platforms. You no longer have to pay to have the NSA watch your group sex chats.
Who said Microsoft couldn't be benevolent? Take back that frame of thinking because the Micro 'S' is showing that they, too, can be as giving, kindhearted and considerate as the Catholic church during the crusades.
PC World caught an updated post over on the official Skype blog, where Microsoft's UK product manager for Skype, Phillip Snalune, wrote that...
“For the last few years, we’ve offered group video calling to Premium users on Windows desktop and Mac and more recently Xbox One. Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re making group video calling free – for all users on these platforms. And, in the future, we’ll be enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost.”
Wow, thank you Microsoft. I didn't know how much I needed this feature to be free until I realized that I've never used it and most gamers probably don't care.
Still, something free is better than nothing. Right? Right.
With this news I was also curious if it meant that Skype would be free-free and if you could use Skype on the Xbox One without requiring Xbox Live. So after letting my XBL Gold service lapse, I decided to sign in and test the free app features. Sure enough, it actually works. I'm shocked to say, it actually works. Microsoft has finally done something right by consumers.
They've also lifted some restrictions on other apps such as Internet Explorer and Twitch, enabling users to access the browser without having to pay a recurring Xbox Live Gold fee to access non-essential apps on the console.
This is probably great news for some users, as the $500 machine was locked down with so many fees and extraneous costs that I'm shocked there wasn't a tax to play used games on the system... oh wait... there was!
The upgrade of allowing users to gain access to apps without locking everything down behind a paywall is a huge step up for Microsoft and is likely to get more people interested in the Xbox One. Of course, additional apps and features on PS4 and Wii U are free... so technically Microsoft is just bringing their more expensive and less feature-rich console up to the same level of consumer-friendliness as the competition.
The only thing Microsoft really needs to do now is focus on getting more games onto the system; get more exclusive content for the system; make Kinect useful for something beyond stressing your voice out trying to get the darn thing to watch TV on your TV, and get some exclusive titles that are focused on unique and innovative gaming experiences instead of tired old AAA shooters that we've been playing for the past decade.
That advice above is on the house. Additional advice will be $5 a month.
You can grab Skype, for free, from the Xbox One's app store right now. Enjoy those free group chats while you play your games in 792p.