Xbox One’s Live Gold goes the distance – long distance, that is.

Just saw that Microsoft snuck a bit of good news into the Xbox Live Gold for Xbox One owners – not only will a Live Gold subscription get you access to Skype, you’ll also get 100 free worldwide long distance minutes per month for six months as well as group video chat.

Just to be clear, the long distance calls aren’t Skype-to-Skype calling – those types of connections (as of now) are free and unlimited with the Live Gold subscription. These 100 minutes(x6 months), much like the minutes bundled with the MS Office 365 package or the recently released Surface 2/Surface Pro 2 benefits, allow you to make calls from Skype to landlines and cell phones any of 50 countries around the world, free of charge. Whether this will work on other devices remains to be seen, but we suspect that the minutes will be tied to your Live/Skype account, and not require you to use them on the Xbox One.

If you want to know more, head over to the Skype blog for more details, and if you’re interested in where the offer is available and which countries you can call, check out the offer terms.

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Canada, at a young age I was forced to decide whether the harsh northern winters were going to claim my fingers, or to turn to the safer pursuits of indoor activities. Little did I know that a little game called Ninja Gaiden would bring my digits more pain than frostbite ever could. Starting with Vectrex and C64 games and moving forward through the era of electronic entertainment, I sampled as much as I could in the different platforms, and began my interest in PC gaming from wrestling with DOS memory management.

While console games were a part of my earliest gaming memories and I certainly had played on most platforms including 3D0, all things Nintendo, PS1 and the like, truly the PC was my domain until the Xbox. As an old PC gamer, I ever chased the cutting edge technology. Eye of the beholder with CGA 4 colors was my first step down the the path of blowing thousands of dollars on PC upgrades over two decades. Ultima 7, with the Guardian talking to me through my monitor, still haunts my dreams and keeps me ever hoping for a decent Ultima 8 and 9. From the 3DFX SLI VooDoo2s and Aureal to today's GPU driven DirectX games, the new and shiny pictures seem to keep me going. My PC gaming has slowed down with the market shift though, and although I have choice games that will ever be on PC, I have found myself in console gaming with a bit of portable gaming in my life.

Back around the turn of the millenium (and long before fatherhood), I had fired off an email offering to help Ron with a little-known site called ConsoleGold. Little did I know it would be be a part of my life to this day. While I've seen my fair share of shovelware (thanks Ron!), I manage to try and find the fun in most games. Leaning towards sandbox and action titles, I've grown to love games for their potential to reach art. Console agnostic and excited for the progress of tomorrow, I fancy the latest and greatest, but still enjoy the good old classics ... as long as they've been revamped from their 8bit graphic roots.

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