Microsoft to replace Xbox Voice Chat with Skype

January 17, 2013

Microsoft to replace Xbox Voice Chat with Skype

Within the concrete walls of Microsoft’s Redmond R&D offices, the brains behind the next Xbox console are supposedly cooking up a new way to communicate with your friends. According to sources, Microsoft is heavily gearing up to roll out Skype onto the Xbox 720 while bringing all communications under its umbrella.

CVG reports that a source close to the matter has revealed Microsoft’s plan to unify communication between the PC, Tablet and Xbox under Skype. This means that users on Skype from their PC would be able to communicate with someone on their Xbox console and vice versa.

Skype would be replacing the aging Xbox Voice chat feature that was originally created with the 64k dial-up Internet connection in mind. Microsoft did update the software codec behind the tech back in 2010 to reduce the crackly noise coming through Xbox voice chat.

Microsoft acquired Skype for a cool $8.5 billion back in 2011, the company’s largest acquisition ever. The company revealed plans to replace its MSN communicator with Skype messenger along with its voice over IP initiative.

A recent job listing further revealed that Microsoft was indeed looking to hire a user interface designer for the “next gen Xbox,” with the sole responsibility of bringing Skype to the living room.

If Microsoft can successfully implement Skype across all devices so users can talk to each other cross-platforms, the possibilities could be endless. PS Vita users could chat with Xbox 720 and PC gamers. Cross Platform play could also be possible as well.

The last game to feature cross-platform play was Portal 2 by Valve across the PC and PS3. Gamers were able to voice chat using Valve’s Steam service on the PS3. Skullgirls will also offer cross-platform play across PC and PS3 once it drops onto Steam.

Unfortunately, Microsoft gave up on the notion of cross-platform gaming with Shadowrun in 2007 and have reportedly axed this concept altogether.  Hopefully, Microsoft will reconsider this especially with SmartGlass being its latest pet project.

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31 Responses to “Microsoft to replace Xbox Voice Chat with Skype”

  1. Roca.:

    I hope a Gold membership is not required…

    In other news

  2. oldschool1987:

    Just watched Paranormal Activity 4 these films get worse and stretch the concept to breaking point! Why would anyone record every single conversation that ever happens? Seriously, they walk around recording all fucking day! Getting stupid.

    Biggest gripe with the film is the unbelievably shameful advertisement of Kinect and Xbox. It’s like the movie was made to advertise Kinect.

  3. phranctoast:

    “Cross Platform play could also be possible as well.”

    I’ll believe this when I see it. MS should be ashamed there’s more games with ps3 to PC cross platform play.

  4. Godless:

    ^ Not actually seen the film, but you sound a little butthurt they weren’t plays a PS3 or any other console for that matter, would it have bothered you if it had been any other machine? ;)

    On topic
    While I fully support them adding as much stuff as they want to. I really hope they do not do away with the chat features as they stand on the 360, because they do not need changing.

  5. CarlB:

    Love Skype and saving about $50+/mo with it. Use it to place most calls now with a bluetooth headset and iPad instead of my prepaid phone.

  6. twilight:

    “the unbelievably shameful advertisement of Kinect and Xbox.” This is brilliant marketing. Microsoft is an advertising monster. This is something that Microsoft does extremely well. Xbox360/Kinect is advertised everywhere including on Xbox live itself lol. Sony needs to advertise more.

  7. phranctoast:

    I spending as much on Internet and TV as I would with a dedicated phone line included anyway so I’ll be just adding that this month.
    In fact, with all the deals, and me dropping Showtime (no more Dexter) I’ll probably be saving about $40.

    ““the unbelievably shameful advertisement of Kinect and Xbox.” ”

    yeah. I really dislike advertisements that “beat you over the head” and make it all too obvious.

  8. CarlB:

    …another ad (video at bottom of article)… “Mega Wall” and Roomba ring-bearer… *barf*

  9. CarlB:

  10. phranctoast:

    LOL. Roomba kicks ass. If only it could give BJ’s and learn to cook………. ;)

  11. CarlB:

    You can bet Realdoll is looking into that.

    I remember seeing Nintendo working with a similar model to this years ago… could this be the controller for the gen after next?

  12. phranctoast:

    invests in RealDoll stock ;)

  13. oldschool1987:

    “^ Not actually seen the film, but you sound a little butthurt they weren’t plays a PS3 or any other console for that matter, would it have bothered you if it had been any other machine?”


    I’d complain if they used a Move controller to rape the demo with. Of course is complain, it distracts from the movie. I hate shameless product placement. It annoyed me in Spider-Man seeing Sony laptops everywhere but they didn’t use Sony laptops to capture the Lizard lol.

  14. oldschool1987:

    Rape the demon*

  15. MAK:

    It really blows that Microsoft owns Skype. It ruins the hope of Skype being put on all devices.

    I think Skype should be available for any device that can run the software, including game systems. I want it on PS3 and PS4, but since Microsoft owns Skype, it makes it more complicated.

    I have to admit, this is one thing that makes me jealous of the next XBox. Nothing big, but its big to me.

    It would be interesting if they could establish a universal Party chat for every system, so all of us gamers can talk to eachother regardless of what system we are on. Skype has so much potential for that, but it wont happen.
    Imagine having a chatroom filled with your friends that are all on a different system. One on PC, PS3, Xbox, Wii, Vita, DS? etc. and gaming during the chat.

    I understand that games need to have exclusivity due to competition and such, but do us gamers really need to be exclusive to our own systems that we are on?

  16. phranctoast:

    I guess we’ll see what happens. Skype has always been universal. I can’t imagine Microsoft limiting it to just some devices. They want their tongs in everything. Psp being the prominent of those.

    I guess someone who wants to just see what’s going happeneing

  17. Roca.:

    Skype is available on the Vita.

  18. phranctoast:

    I re read what I said and it looks like iOS dictation is far from perfect. Especially when drinking. Lol

  19. phranctoast:


  20. dans:

    ^lol phranc


  21. dans:

    I just completed Journey for the first time. Man, that game is beautiful. :’)

  22. phranctoast:

    God of War Ascension new SP trailer.…player-trailer


    hype meter off the charts…

  23. twilight:

    Well, at least you got your money’s worth from Journey. Even though I thought the Darkness 2 was short but was an enjoyable game at about four hours, the story line in Soul Calibar V takes the cake. I re-started the story line from the beginning since I got sidetracked from this game the other day. This is one of the games I had that got put on the back burner for awhile. I completed this game in less then two hours. This is ridiculous. I was shocked when I saw the closing credits roll after two hours of game play. On top of this, the story line was not even good.

  24. twilight:

    God Of War Ascension is one of the games that I am really lookkng forward to playing this year. I can’t wait for this game to come out. My most wanted thing this year is a next generation gaming system but my most wanted games this year are Castlevania 2, Dead Space 3, The Last Of Us, and Beyond Two Souls. Have you got a chance to play Darksiders yet? If so, what do you think about this game?

  25. phranctoast:

    “From Eurogamer:

    Both the next generation PlayStation – and its Xbox competitor – feature eight-core CPUs clocked at 1.6GHz according to sources trusted by Digital Foundry. The main processor architecture driving both consoles is said to be derived the new “Jaguar” technology currently in development by Intel’s arch-rival, AMD. These are low-power processor cores designed for the entry-level laptop and tablet market, offering an excellent ratio between power consumption and performance. The PC Jaguar products are set to ship later this year in a quad-core configuration – next-gen consoles see the core count double with some customisations added to the overall design.

    Married to the eight-core processor, Orbis also features Radeon HD graphics hardware. We’ve previously suggested that AMD’s mobile “Pitcairn” design – the Radeon 7970M – could be a strong basis for a next-gen console graphics core in terms of power consumption and die-size. Running at 850MHz and featuring 20 of AMD’s “Graphics Core Next” compute units, our information suggests that Orbis shaves off 10 per cent of that number, offering up 18 CUs in total, and sees a mild downclock to 800MHz. Incorporated into a design dedicated to cutting-edge visuals and gameplay, this hardware has some serious potential.

    It is perhaps more than coincidence that these specs offer up the 1.84 teraflops metric for the Orbis GPU that was mooted yesterday, assuming that the figure is calculated in the same way that it is for AMD’s current “Graphics Core Next” range of products. At this time we cannot confirm the make-up of the Durango graphics hardware – rumours have circulated for quite some time that it is some way behind Orbis, but equally there has been the suggestion that the GPU itself is supplemented by additional task-specific hardware. We could not confirm this, but an ex-Microsoft staffer with a prior relationship with the Xbox team says that two of these modules are graphics-related.

    However, there’s a fair amount of “secret sauce” in Orbis and we can disclose details on one of the more interesting additions. Paired up with the eight AMD cores, we find a bespoke GPU-like “Compute” module, designed to ease the burden on certain operations – physics calculations are a good example of traditional CPU work that are often hived off to GPU cores. We’re assured that this is bespoke hardware that is not a part of the main graphics pipeline but we remain rather mystified by its standalone inclusion, bearing in mind Compute functions could be run off the main graphics cores and that devs could have the option to utilise that power for additional graphical grunt, if they so chose.

    Previous rumours have suggested that Orbis runs its CPU cores along with some graphics hardware inside a standalone, custom AMD Fusion core with a separate, discrete GPU. Our sources suggest otherwise – all of these elements are embedded into the same piece of silicon, and we can confirm that the internal codename for the processor is indeed “Liverpool”, as was mooted some time ago. Sony does have some form here for pushing the envelope – PlayStation Vita represents the only mobile GPU processor that combined quad-core ARM Cortex A9s with the PowerVR SGX543 MP4. Even on the power-hungry iPad 3, Apple stuck with dual-core CPU architecture at the same 45nm fabrication node.

    The news that so much processing power is packed onto a single processor is highly significant to the point where credibility could be stretched somewhat. However, helping to explain matters is the make-up of AMD’s Jaguar tech – each core occupies just 3.1mm2 of die-space at the 28nm fabrication standard. Factor in L2 cache, and the overall CPU component could be as little as 75-80mm2 in total. That’s in contrast to the 235mm2 of the launch PS3′s Cell processor and the 240mm2 of the Emotion Engine chip inside the original PlayStation 2 – neither of which factored in the separate graphics hardware, which in both cases was even larger. By our reckoning, the more efficient eight-core set-up still leaves plenty of space for integrating the main GPU onto the same die, with space to spare. This offers up significant production cost savings and brings down overall power consumption.

    While Durango continues to hoard many of its secrets, we now have a very good idea of the basic architectural outline of the next-gen PlayStation. So the question is, what sort of performance ballpark are we talking about here? In our Radeon 7970M review, we ran Battlefield 3 on medium settings, and Crysis 2 likewise on its very high preset – both at the magical 1080p60. With some frame-rate drops we could ramp that up to high and extreme respectively for a perfectly playable, visually arresting experience. In our tests the Radeon GPU ran in concert with a 2.3GHz Intel quad-core CPU; bearing in mind the firm’s domination over AMD in single-thread performance, not to mention the Turbo Boost technology that automatically overclocks the CPU to thermal limits, we reckon this is a fairly good ballpark comparison to an eight-core AMD CPU (primarily aimed at entry level markets, remember) running at a relatively low clock speed.

    Of course, these ballpark tests are not the be-all-and-end-all of next-gen power – let’s not forget that the new consoles are dedicated games machines gifted with a host of advantages over PC hardware. Factor out the overhead of the Windows OS, introduce ever-evolving development tools written for a fixed platform, and consider the performance advantages of a dedicated design – particularly the fast interconnects between CPU, GPU and RAM. What we have here is hardware that easily punches above its weight compared to performance couched purely in PC terms. It’s a state of affairs borne out by both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3: by 2007, PC hardware had already moved significantly beyond the raw horsepower offered by current-gen consoles, yet games like God of War 3, Halo 4 and Uncharted 3 have extracted visual performance that could only have been dreamed of back then. Based on what we know about the next-gen consoles, there’s little reason why history can’t repeat itself.

    That said, the AMD connection that defines both Durango and Orbis confirms that both consoles are much closer in design to gaming PCs than their predecessors, which may result in stronger ports to the computer format, not to mention the upcoming Steam Box – a piece of hardware free to evolve and grow more powerful year upon year in a way that Sony and Microsoft’s boxes can’t. And surely Valve must be looking at these specs with perhaps a little relief – AMD’s CPU architecture is designed with power efficiency in mind, and in pure performance terms, even an eight-core set-up should be comfortably out-performed by a fast, modern desktop Intel quad-core processor. In developing and optimising next-gen titles for the lower power console CPUs, it would be richly ironic if PC owners reaped the benefits…”

  26. me_:

    That was an interesting article. If Sony and MS end up using more or less the same hardware we shouldn’t see so many dodgy ports.

    It kind of leave Nintendo out in the cold though as the only PowerPC user.

  27. Roca.:

    More rumors/leaks about the PS4 and Xbox 720:

    “VG247 claims that they have been told that the PlayStation 4 has a 50% raw power advantage over Xbox 720, based on information out of CES.

    Alleged developer sources, who were at next-gen meetings at CES, said that the PlayStation 4 (still codenamed Orbis) will have a run-capability of 1.84 teraflops. The next Xbox (codenamed Durango), on the other hand, will be able to achieve 1.23 teraflops. That’s a 50% raw computational power advantage over the Xbox 720 by the PS4.

    Where Durango takes the lead is with RAM, apparently packing in a whopping 8GB – 3GB just for OS, apps and security and 4-5GB for games. Meanwhile, the PS4 is thought to have 4GB of RAM – 1GB for OS, 3GB for games”

    ***Updated RAM specs: “The PS4 is said to feature 4GB of GDDR5 (the super-fast RAM) with 512MB of it reserved for the operating system. Meanwhile, the 720 will only use the slower much slower DDR3, with Microsoft “set to be using an offshoot of eDRAM technology connected to the graphics core to offset the bandwidth issues the use of DDR3 incur.” But Microsoft will bring the big guns with the sheer amount of RAM – 8GB. 3GB of it, however, will be put aside for OS” (


  28. me_:

    “Meanwhile, the 720 will only use the slower much slower DDR3″

    At last you understand the difference between GDDR and DDR Roca. I remember you arguing there wasn’t much difference between DDR and GDDR.

    There’s hope for you Roca.

  29. MAK:

    If both consoles use the same hardware, that is bullshit.

    Regardless of which console, ONE of them needs to be more powerful than the other. It’s essential.
    It causes people to bicker over what’s better, but that’s healthier to have than to have two of the same consoles.

  30. Roca.:

    PS4 seems to have a MUCH faster RAM and a better GPU (not sure about the CPU)

    leaks show the PS4 will have 50% more processing power than the Xbox 720.

  31. Godless:

    I would seriously doubt, MS, with it’s huge financial advantage in the market just now would let its console be so under powered by comparison to the competition.

    I will wait to see the final specs, and how they translate to gaming power.

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