A recently posted London job opening on the Microsoft Careers website confirms the development of a next generation XBOX with Skype integration. The job opening tasks a lead program manager with running a team to build and support the application through the post-launch period of the yet-to-be-named console.
The listing refers to the XBOX as a “fundamental lynch-pin of Skype’s living room strategy,” which began when Microsoft acquired the company last year. In a May 2011 press release Microsoft stated that one of the goals of the acquisition was to bring Skype integration to the XBOX console and specifically Kinect.
“We are focused on enabling amazing new in-game and in-console voice and video experiences for the next generation of Xbox,” reads the Microsoft job opening. “This is a crucial initiative for Xbox, and it is time-critical given the hardware lead times involved.”
A robust video interface like Skype will no doubt provide developers with more opportunities to take Kinect play online, which has so far seen very little multiplayer activity outside of the living room. The specific mention of in-game video experiences is intriguing, and could possibly be a fun supplement to voice chatting with friends if cleverly implemented into future titles.
XBOX Live already has basic video chatting features for Kinect, but currently calls can only be made to other XBOX Live members or users of Windows Live Messenger. Check out the video below to see an E3 demonstration of Kinect video chat from a few years back.
After nearly 7 years on the market, rumors have been swirling about the impending next generation of consoles for some time now. After all the speculation it’s nice to finally see some solid evidence of what we can expect from the future of gaming.