The popular Skype voice and instant-messaging protocol, which allows for free Internet-based telephony, will be made open to developers of other software, the company has announced. Currently requiring the use of Skype's own client, the company will offer APIs to integrate the service into other software, including potential use in online video games.
"Skype’s mission is to make communicating through the Internet natural and easy to do," said CEO Niklas Zennström, "so in addition to voice communications we offer the power of both instant messaging and presence, which have become as ubiquitous as email over the last five years... we think now is a perfect time to make these popular features available to anyone who wants to build community and communications into their website or applications.”
No developers have yet announced plans to integrate Skype into their online titles, but the service could become a competitor for software such as TeamChat or TeamSpeak, which lets MMO guilds or FPS clans use voice chat during games. Other wider messaging programs have previously been integrated into MMOs, with a notable example being The Matrix Online including AIM in its client. Although no game companies have explicitly started using Skype, the first announcements from software developers using Skype will come "in the very short term," said co-founder Jason Friis.