Xbox One to include six months worth of free Skype calls

With the launch of Xbox One on the horizon and approaching quickly (November 22nd, should you require the quick recall), the Skype team has published a new blog entry to detail some improvements and new features incoming with Skype for Xbox One. If you've been crying out for notifications and multitasking you're in luck with the next version of the popular communications client.

Not only is the team working hard to implement new features, we're also looking at free calls. Read on for all the details.

Notifications are pretty self-explanatory. You'll be alerted when the Xbox One has received an incoming call or new message (see below image), regardless to what you're currently doing - be it racing in Forza Motorsport 5 or watching live TV. You can then command Xbox One to hop into the call or reply to the message in the Skype app, switching seamlessly.

Skype Xbox One Demo

Skype notifications on Xbox One

Next up is the wide view camera with auto zoom and pan - and yes, it looks as cool as it sounds. Thanks to Kinect's new wide view lens and auto zoom functionality (all software-based with no motor support), you'll be able to fit the entire group into view or have the Kinect instantly focus on callers in the frame, zooming automatically to ensure a sound experience. Let's not forget there's 1080 HD support. 

Moving on from video calling, we have snap support. Multitasking is a new feature in Xbox One and Skype is set to take full advantage of the new capability. Want to do some web browsing or watch a video while chatting with friends? You can now do that with relative ease. Lastly, Microsoft will be offering free group calling and 100 worldwide minutes with Xbox One.

This is a similar deal to what we've seen the company do with its Surface tablets. Consumers will be able to use 100 worldwide minutes per month for calls to mobiles and landlines in over 50 countries. The offer covers six months use with an Xbox Live Gold subscription. Who needs to get up to fetch the mobile when you can use Xbox One to order your pizza?

​If you'd like a quick look at some of the new features in Skype for Xbox One, check out the below video (Skype section starts at 4:53):

Source: Skype, via: The Verge

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.