Skype continues to spread itself to anything with a data connection, and while while we don't expect this to be the last gaming device it'll appear on, it's the second. Yes, the Microsoft-owned Skype will be available to download for free on the Sony-made PlayStation Vita later today and it's capable of video calls from the get-go -- although we're yet to test whether that's possible on a 3G signal. Embarrassingly, the app looks far more capable than its recent gone-gold compadre on Microsoft's very own mobile platform. While the Windows Phone version is unable to tick along in the background, the Vita (with all that top-end processing power) can still keep your account online while you're running other apps, even take those video calls mid-game. Thankfully, Skype has drafted in professional gamer Fatal1ty to give us a quick tour of the UI and how it's all meant to click together -- it's included right after the break.
Update: To allow the Skype app to connect in the background, games like Uncharted, which switch off wireless connections, are unfortunately not supported.
Skype Brings Video Calling to PlayStation®Vita
Skype, Now Available for Download via PlayStation®Store,
Marks the First Time Video Calling Has Been Available on PlayStation®
Palo Alto, CA – April 24, 2012 –Skype announced today that Skype video calling is now available on PlayStation®Vita (PS Vita), expanding Skype video calling capabilities to a portable gaming device for the first time. PS Vita, which launched in early 2012 from Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC (SCEA), will offer video calling capabilities and voice calling on both the Wi-Fi and 3G/Wi-Fi models. PS Vita users can download the application for free from PlayStation®Store later today*.
"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."
Skype on PS Vita runs in "background mode" for users while gaming or using other applications** and users have the capability to "pause" a game, conduct a call and then return to their previous activity. Additionally, PS Vita features both front and rear facing cameras, which allows users to switch back and forth between the two during a Skype call. This is a great benefit of never missing a call even when playing a game or using another app.
PS Vita is available for $249.99 (MSRP) for Wi-Fi and $299.99 (MSRP) for 3G/Wi-Fi models. The device is also equipped with a 5" OLED touch screen, dual analog sticks, front touchscreen and rear touch pad, two cameras and a built in microphone.
Twelve time world champion Fatal1ty was one of the first users to test-drive the application.
"As a gaming enthusiast, I am always in search for a next big thing," said Fatal1ty. "When I heard Skype was going to be featured on PS Vita, my first thought was this was going to be the device that sets the bar for all new gaming consoles-connecting with family and friends while playing your favorite game."