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Xbox One Skype app updated with longer chat logs, improved filtering

MIcrosoft has issued an update for its Xbox One Skype application, adding a new filtering feature and expanding chat logging functionality, among other user-requested improvements.

Post-update, Skype on Xbox One now logs the last 1,000 messages…
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Microsoft Comments On Alleged Skype And Upload Bans

Yesterday some Reddit users reported that Microsoft had banned their accounts for “past behavior” making use of Skype and Upload Studio impossible. We reached out to Microsoft for comment on the matter.

“To be clear, the Xbox Live Policy & Enforcement team does not monitor direct peer-to-peer communications like Skype chats and calls,” a Microsoft representative told Game Informer via email. “Also, we take Code of Conduct moderation via Upload Studio very seriously. We want a clean, safe and fun environment for all users. Excessive profanity as well as other Code of Conduct violations will be enforced upon and result in suspension of some or all privileges on Xbox Live. We remain committed to preserving and promoting a safe, secure and enjoyable experience for all of our Xbox Live members.”

Without monitoring peer-to-peer Skype calls, there is no way that Microsoft could have banned anyone for foul language in that app. However, users would do well to keep voice overs on uploaded clips clean. Foul language there can get you suspended and, possibly, banned.

[Source: Reddit]

 

Our Take
The rules around Upload Studio are an extension of the Xbox Live terms of service that have been in effect for years. Don’t use inappropriate Gamertags. Don’t put foul language in your profile. Add the new understandings around Upload Studio to the way you interact with the service and you should stay on the right side of Xbox Live Enforcement’s thin green line.

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Xbox One Game DVR, Skype, Smart Match are for Gold subscribers

Xbox One Game DVR, a feature that will allow players to record gameplay directly through the console, will be exclusive to Gold subscribers, as will Skype and Smart Match matchmaking.

These features are in addition to the established parameters of Xbox Live Gold set on Xbox 360: Premium entertainment apps like Netflix will still require it, as will online multiplayer and those coming live NFL broadcasts. Microsoft hasn’t said if self-publishing will require Gold.

The Xbox One is slated to launch this November for $ 500 in North America, €500 in Europe and £430 in the United Kingdom. The Xbox One will initially be available in 21 different markets.

JoystiqXbox One Game DVR, Skype, Smart Match are for Gold subscribers originally appeared on Joystiq on Wed, 07 Aug 2013 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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[Update] Report: Skype Monitoring Began In Early 2011, No Changes In 2012 Under Microsoft Ownership

Update: The Guardian has revised its story from yesterday regarding Prism, the NSA's spying program and services owned and operated by Microsoft. The changes are important as they deal directly with the timing of Skype participation and changes to how it was incorporated into the surveillance network.

According to the new information, Skype monitoring started in earnest in early February 2011 after the company received directive from the United States Attorney General's office. Microsoft's Skype acquisition was announced in May 2011. The Guardian report has also been revised to reflect that no changes were made to Skype in June 2012. Last year, Skype came under fire due to allegations that changes enabled further surveillance. These were denied in a blog post by Mark Gillet, Skype vice president at Microsoft. 

 

Original Story:

A new report sheds light on the depth of interaction between Microsoft and the NSA's Prism spy program. The report alleges that the Redmond, Washington company collected and/or enabled the collection of private emails and Skype transmissions.

According to the report England's Guardian newspaper, in addition to unencrypted Outlook.com email and SkyDrive files, the NSA has been collecting Skype calls since February 2011 the NSA has been collecting Skype video since June 2012 and audio as early as November 2010 (see update above). As you might recall, Skype is the software that powers chat on Xbox One.

Additionally, Microsoft confirmed that the Xbox One will require the Kinect to be on in order to function. The camera and microphone bundle also offers a standby mode so that users can activate the console by voice at any time. Microsoft has also stated that the Kinect can be set to different power states so that it can be fully powered down when not in use. We approached Microsoft for comment on the allegations.

“We have clear principles which guide the response across our entire company to government demands for customer information for both law enforcement and national security issues," a Microsoft representative told Game Informer. "First, we take our commitments to our customers and to compliance with applicable law very seriously, so we provide customer data only in response to legal processes. Second, our compliance team examines all demands very closely, and we reject them if we believe they aren’t valid. Third, we only ever comply with orders about specific accounts or identifiers, and we would not respond to the kind of blanket orders discussed in the press over the past few weeks, as the volumes documented in our most recent disclosure clearly illustrate."

"To be clear, Microsoft does not provide any government with blanket or direct access to SkyDrive, Outlook.com, Skype or any Microsoft product. Finally when we upgrade or update products legal obligations may in some circumstances require that we maintain the ability to provide information in response to a law enforcement or national security request. There are aspects of this debate that we wish we were able to discuss more freely. That’s why we’ve argued for additional transparency that would help everyone understand and debate these important issues.”

The details presented today follow earlier reports in the Guardian and Washington Post that also accuse Apple, Google, Facebook, and Yahoo of being complicit in the Prism spy program. 

[Source: Guardian]

 

Our Take
[Update] 
The implications of the Prism spy program feed into the fears that many gamers have had about putting a new Kinect in their living rooms. Given that the device is designed to be "always on" for optimal use (even in a low-power state), it's no wonder that some are still begging for Microsoft to cut the cord. Even if Microsoft had absolutely no choice but to comply with the United States government (as seems to be the subtext of the last line of the provided statement), the pairing of the Kinect and the ability for Skype to be accessed easily are concerning.  

It's also important to understand the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), the court that handles wiretapping and electronic surveillance. An article last week in the New York Times details expansion of the secretive court's powers, including alleged exploitation and expansion of the "special needs" doctrine that enables airport security screenings and drunk driving checkpoints. Its relevance to this particular issue is that FISA judges have used the provision to exempt the NSA from warrants, thereby circumventing the fourth amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizure in the search for possible terrorists.

The concern then becomes about the definition of "possible terrorist." The case of Justin Carter and a foolish Facebook post evidence how serious some declarations are being taken. While those comments were made in a more public setting, a combination of broadening legal application of surveillance law and the ease of accessing personal data through the services we use regularly give me pause.

Microsoft has indicated it is trying to get clear of the gag order so that they can speak more freely about these issues. Google and Yahoo have also filed to be able to reveal how they complied and what objections they made to the orders.

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Report: No fee to play used Xbox One games, Skype powers voice chat

Report No fee to play used Xbox One games, voice chat powered by Skype

Citing “sources familiar with the system,” Polygon reports that the Xbox One will not require a fee to play used games. Instead, the console will perform regular online checks to verify disc authenticity and ownership.

Polygon’s sources note that used game sales will continue, as Xbox One game ownership is determined by an on-disc encryption code. Once a game has been sold, traded, or otherwise activated by another console, access to the previous owner’s installed content is revoked and transferred to its new owner.

Microsoft’s Major Nelson addressed recent speculation regarding the upcoming console’s ability to play used games in a statement released earlier today. “Xbox One is designed to support the trade in and resale of games,” Major Nelson said. “Reports about our policies for trade in and resale are inaccurate and incomplete. We will disclose more information in the near future.”

Polygon additionally reports that Xbox One voice chat and party chat will be powered by Skype, according to an unnamed Microsoft representative. Recent rumors suggest that Skype will also enable remote play sessions.

“Skype technologies are used in Xbox One which improves voice quality during multiplayer game sessions,” Microsoft’s representative wrote in a statement to Polygon. “Skype can also be used to call any of your Skype contacts for voice or video chat exclusively or while playing a game. Additionally, we have improved the Kinect hardware, from microphone configuration to dedicated audio processing, which contributes to providing a high-quality voice experience whether you are chatting in a game or through Skype.”

JoystiqReport: No fee to play used Xbox One games, Skype powers voice chat originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 24 May 2013 20:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rumor: Xbox One to feature Skype remote play

Rumor has it that Microsoft’s Xbox One console will feature remote play through Skype, allowing someone to remotely take over gameplay on the local console directly from a Skype call. Either player may break the remote play session at any time.

Supposedly the feature is in testing phase right now, though Polygon‘s source notes that certain details are still up in the air – like how long that individual can remotely play or whether they need to own the same game or not. During the Xbox reveal event, Microsoft unveiled group Skype calls using the Xbox One’s improved Kinect sensor.

JoystiqRumor: Xbox One to feature Skype remote play originally appeared on Joystiq on Fri, 24 May 2013 13:45:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Microsoft To Replace Xbox Live Chat With Skype

The industry news site Computer and Videogames is reporting that Microsoft intends to replace Xbox Live chat with Skype in an effort to "consolidate all of their communications technology" under one banner.

CVG says the information comes from a "a person familiar with the matter." This source says that Skype would become the default communications technology across all of Microsoft's platforms, including the next-generation Xbox, PC, and tablet. The source also said, "You might jump to the conclusion that we'll see asynchronous voice and video messages in next-gen Xbox Live."

Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 for $ 8.5 billion.

Source: CVG

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Skype video coming to Vita today

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Skype, one of the few things on the internet that even sweet ol’ grannies know how to use, will be available later today for the PlayStation Vita. Skype video calling will be enabled on the device for both the WiFi and 3G models as soon as the PlayStation Store updates, sometime during the sun’s descent toward the horizon.

Skype will run in “background mode” on the Vita, allowing users to pause a game, answer a call and then go back to touching Little Deviants once the call is over. Skype on Vita also supports both the front and rear camera on the device, with the ability to switch back and forth during a call. Let your imagination roam as to the possibilities.

Now we will menacingly stare at our microwave and interrogate it on why it seems be one of the few useful devices left without Skype support.

Update: Clarified that Skype and a game can’t be active at the same time. It’s one or the other.

Continue reading Skype video coming to Vita today

JoystiqSkype video coming to Vita today originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 24 Apr 2012 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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PSN Tuesday: Skype, The Walking Dead, Battlefield 3

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As promised, Skype arrives on the Vita today in a free download. Tell your friends … to download Skype so you can tell your friends. Other new PSN content arriving today includes Bejeweled 3, The Walking Dead, and retail-to-PSN releases Battlefield 3 and The Cursed Crusade, all on PS3. Demos are available for Ninja Gaiden 3, Dragon’s Dogma, and The Walking Dead.

Old games available once again include PS2 Classic Red Faction (the first one) and Darkstalkers 3, and Future Cop LAPD on PSOne Classics. Find the full menu of downloadable PlayStation stuff on the PlayStation Blog.

JoystiqPSN Tuesday: Skype, The Walking Dead, Battlefield 3 originally appeared on Joystiq on Tue, 24 Apr 2012 18:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Skype Comes To PlayStation Vita

Skype video calling is now available to download on the PlayStation Vita, Skype announced today.

The Skype app is compatible with both the Wi-Fi and 3G/Wi-Fi models. “Our users appreciate being able to access Skype features wherever and whenever they choose,” said Manrique Brenes, senior director, consumer electronics group at Skype.

“With the launch of Skype for PS Vita, we are taking another step towards our ultimate goal of making Skype video calling available on every platform, all over the world, and meeting the demands of existing PlayStation users to offer video on a gaming console.”

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