Skype for iOS 4.1.7 (iPad screenshot 001)

One-on-one video calls have always been free on Skype and now the Microsoft-owned communication platform is making the group video calling feature, unveiled in 2010, available free of charge to desktop users running OS X or Microsoft Windows, with no expiration date, as well as to owners of the Xbox One console which has Skype deeply integrated.

Up until now, group video calling used to be limited to Skype’s Premium users on Windows desktop and Mac, which costs $4.99 for a day pass or $8.99 per month. Microsoft has said it will make the feature free on all platforms “in the future”

According to the Skype blog, in the future the team will be “enabling group video calling for all our users across more platforms – at no cost.

Xbox One (Skype group video calling)

Mac and PC desktop users can start multi-party video chats with up to ten participants. On the Xbox One, up to four devices are supported.

Here’s a quick video overview of group video calling on Windows.

Phillip Snalune, Skype’s General Manager of Consumer Product Marketing, told The Next Web that the following platforms will support free group video calling in the future: Windows Metro, Windows Phone, Android and iOS.

None of the aforementioned platforms currently support the feature so this’ll mark the first time multi-party video chats have become available on the iPhone and iPad.

The Windows giant moving from paid to free for group video calling probably has a lot to do with the fact that Google’s Hangouts offers muli-party video chatting free of charge.

Skype’s free iPhone and iPad apps are free downloads in the App Store.