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Microsoft Buys Skype for $8.5 Billion

If you thought the Xbox's Video Kinect feature would be better if it was Skype, it seems Microsoft agrees. The company has entered into an agreement to acquire Skype for $8.5 million dollars from the investor group led by Silver Lake. Microsoft was quick to announce that Skype support would be coming to the 360 and Kinect as well as Windows Phone.

Skype will become a new division within Microsoft, headed by Skype CEO Tony Bates. No word has been put out on a timetable for 360 support, but it's safe to say this year's fall dashboard update would be a good candidate.

Presumably the service will replace Video Kinect, adding one more app to the 360 dashboard. While it probably won't function too differently from Video Kinect, the universal integration of Skype means you can use your Xbox to chat with other people on their PC. The Kinect just became the world's best long-distance relationship tool.

It will be interesting to see how the service integrates into the 360. With apps like Netflix sporting party-watching and fancy Kinect hand-waving support, it would be good if Skype includes similarly unique features. For example, if you could bring your Skype calls into Xbox Live party chat, you could chat with your mother while pursuing your next killstreak.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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