Xbox One owners will need an Xbox Live Gold subscription to gain access to one of the next generation gaming console’s key cloud offerings, Skype.
Xbox One has been heavily promoted on the strength of its cloud capabilities, with Microsoft saying the use of an Azure-based cloud platform will make the new console “effectively 40 times greater than the Xbox 360 in terms of processing capabilities”.
Skype, Microsoft’s Voice-over-IP (VoIP) product, was also advertised as being built into the device. However, it now appears only those signed up to Xbox Live Gold, the premium membership option for the Xbox Live network, will be able to use the service.
While Marc Whitten, Xbox chief product officer, did indicate that Xbox Live Gold members would automatically get the full Skype Premium experience via their Xbox One in June, it was still thought the free Skype package would be available to standard Xbox Live members too.
However, a rundown of features for console posted on the Xbox One website shows Skype as an Xbox Live feature.
A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed to Cloud Pro that, at least for the time being, Skype will be “locked behind” Xbox Live Gold, with no free version available for non-Gold members.
This situation is the exact opposite of the decision made to offer all Xbox One users unlimited cloud storage, regardless of whether they have subscribed to Xbox Live Gold or not.
It was initially anticipated the unlimited proposition would only be available to Gold members, but in July it was revealed all gamers could store an indefinite amount of data, including their profile, games and achievements, on the Xbox Live cloud.
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Jane McCallion is ITPro's deputy editor, specializing in cloud computing, cyber security, data centers and enterprise IT infrastructure. Before becoming Deputy Editor, she held the role of Features Editor, managing a pool of freelance and internal writers, while continuing to specialise in enterprise IT infrastructure, and business strategy.
Prior to joining ITPro, Jane was a freelance business journalist writing as both Jane McCallion and Jane Bordenave for titles such as European CEO, World Finance, and Business Excellence Magazine.