Microsoft makes Skype group video calls free for PC desktop, Mac and Xbox One

Microsoft is opening up one of its Skype features that was previously available only for paid Premium subscribers. Today, the company announced that users of the Windows desktop, Mac and Xbox One Skype clients can now launch group video calls for free.

In a blog post, Microsoft stated that while Skype is best known for its one-on-one video calling features, "we know it’s also essential to connect with the groups of people who matter most, whether friends, family or colleagues." The blog post added that free group video calling will be added to Skype's many other platforms in the near future.

Currently, Skype can handle up to 10 people in a group video chat. Today's move to make this feature free is most likely a response by Microsoft to Google Hangouts, which has offered free group video calls for quite some time.

Recently, Microsoft revealed its plans to update Skype for Windows Phone 8.1, which will enabled the operating system's Cortana digital assistant to automatically launch the app when ordered. It will also let users speak into the phone to ask to chat with one of their Skype contacts and to quickly change from a voice to a video call with one button.

Source: Microsoft

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26 Comments

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Great. Now just sort out the mess of duplicate Skype and Messenger accounts and we might be (slowly) getting somewhere, maybe...

actually you're wrong sir, the modern version DOES have video calling, has for quite some time.

Edited by Tegument, Apr 28 2014, 3:17pm :

Skype needs to remove the ads, and all these premium features. The only premium feature of Skype should be minutes.

If Skype is the default de factor messaging platform of Windows/Microsoft, make it accessible and slick. Ads are ugly. Heck, even Hangouts, created by an advertising company, does not have Ads!

ObiWanToby said,
Skype needs to remove the ads, and all these premium features. The only premium feature of Skype should be minutes.

If Skype is the default de factor messaging platform of Windows/Microsoft, make it accessible and slick. Ads are ugly. Heck, even Hangouts, created by an advertising company, does not have Ads!

I pay for premium and unlimited North American minutes. It's worth the cost for premium, but I agree they probably should just open it up. I think it will be there shortly.

Shadowzz said,
On the desktop app you can hide the ads.
Have not seen a single ad on the Windows 8 Modern app and WP8 app.
Agreed, I don't really know where that is coming from. A tiny little service up-sale "advert" at the bottom of the contact list isn't something I care about.

My wife and I have been waiting for this. We've been wanting to Group Skype with family members around the country for a while. Since we all have Xbox Ones it will be easier. My parents want to read stories to all of their grandchildren at the same time to bring the family closer together and my wife wants to workout with her sisters. This will make it that much easier. Now if they would just enable snapped Skype calls so we can watch movies(please bring back the party movies) together, we'll be pretty much there.

None of the "modern" Skype apps even support video calling. Can't send pictures on WP. No screen sharing. And they all perform abysmally. When are they going to get their #### together?

siah1214 said,
None of the "modern" Skype apps even support video calling. Can't send pictures on WP. No screen sharing. And they all perform abysmally. When are they going to get their #### together?

My Windows Skype app has video calling.

siah1214 said,
None of the "modern" Skype apps even support video calling. Can't send pictures on WP. No screen sharing. And they all perform abysmally. When are they going to get their #### together?
Go home you're drunk.

If you've actually used the modern Skype app on Windows 8/8.1, you'd know that it does have video calling.

Edited by timster, Apr 29 2014, 1:02pm :

ians18 said,

My Windows Skype app has video calling.


Still can't send files though, only receive.

And WP8 can't do anything, only chat and call.

OP has a point, Skype's apps in general are absolutely horrible.
I'd love to use the Modern apps of Skype, but I'm constantly stuck with the Desktop app because Windows(phone) apps lack standard features.

Heartripper said,

You can send files


You can on Windows 8, not WP8, which also raises the question of why the discrepancy? And you CAN send photos on the iOS Skype app (for iPhone or iPad), but not the WP8 app. Wtf?

siah1214 said,

You can on Windows 8, not WP8, which also raises the question of why the discrepancy? And you CAN send photos on the iOS Skype app (for iPhone or iPad), but not the WP8 app. Wtf?

AFAIK WP didn't have a file browsing API prior to version 8.1, maybe it's for this reason.

Heartripper said,

AFAIK WP didn't have a file browsing API prior to version 8.1, maybe it's for this reason.


Maybe not a file browser but it did have a photo picker.

Heartripper said,

You can send files


Must be recent, about 1.5week ago it was unable to send a file.
I'll withdraw that part of my rant, and I can stop using the fugly desktop app \o/

siah1214 said,
If you don't think the WP8 and Windows 8 apps are absolute piles, I'd hate to see what you consider good software.
Now that you've clarified Group calling I agree with everything else you've said... just not to the degree of displeasure you seem to have. I use them all... all the time. WP and Modern both need to speed themselves up. What's funny is the implementation of Skype in modern was built in nearly 100% C++ to "increase performance" I've seen JS/HTML -> C# apps more responsive.

siah1214 said,
None of the "modern" Skype apps even support video calling. Can't send pictures on WP. No screen sharing. And they all perform abysmally. When are they going to get their #### together?

my android skype has video calling, i would like a separate skype client that only supports chat and file transfer, and looks like Miranda IM