Microsoft Ships Direct3D

Industry Rallies to Deliver Tidal Wave of Content and Systems; More Than 30 Direct3D-Based Titles Scheduled for Holiday Season

REDMOND, Wash. – June 13, 1996 –
Microsoft Corp. today announced shipment of the final release of the Direct3D
™application programming interface (API), as part of the Microsoft® DirectX
™2 API software development kit (SDK). Direct3D delivers the next generation of high-performance, real-time 3-D rendering technology on the Microsoft Windows® 95 operating system platform.

More than 80 leading hardware and software vendors have already committed to developing systems and content for Internet, games and business applications based on Direct3D. In addition, more than 30 Direct3D-based titles are scheduled to be available this holiday season, including game and Internet products from leading developers such as Activision Inc., Chaco Communications Inc., Dimension X, Electronic Arts, id Software, Intervista Software Inc., Kinetix, OnLive! Technologies Inc., Psygnosis, Sega Entertainment Inc., Sense8, Sierra On-Line, Sony Interactive Technologies Inc., Superscape, Viacom New Media and VREAM, as well as Microsoft’s own consumer division titles. Leading PC manufacturers including Compaq Computer Corp., IBM Corp., and NEC Electronics Inc. plan to put Direct3D-based hardware in the hands of consumers as part of their multimedia product lines for the holiday season.

Direct3D is the latest addition to the highly regarded and successful DirectX interactive media API family from Microsoft. More than 150 Windows 95 operating system-based games and applications use DirectX technologies, and 300 more titles are expected this holiday season. Direct3D offers developers a highly optimized software-only rendering engine with transparent, high-performance, device-independent services that fully exploit the advanced features of any underlying 3-D hardware.

PC users will experience stunning new levels of interactive 3-D graphics with Direct3D-enhanced applications. Direct3D improves Windows 95-based game quality and performance to rival arcade machines. Direct3D also enables Microsoft Internet Explorer to deliver compelling 3-D content on Web pages through ActiveX

™

Controls, helping to redefine 3-D graphics on the Internet.


The infrastructure for a 3-D holiday season is in place thanks to the delivery of Direct3D to our industry partners,


said John Ludwig, vice president of the Internet platform and tools division at Microsoft.


Poised to have more industry support than any previous 3-D rendering technology, Windows 95 with Direct3D technology will bring high-resolution, real-time 3-D to gaming applications and make interactive 3-D on the Internet a reality.

Direct3D runs on today’s PCs, requiring no special accelerating technology, but also automatically takes advantage of special 3-D processors and accelerating extensions such as Intel
®
MMX

™

technology. The result is a high-quality plug-and-play experience for the consumer on the Windows 95 platform with any Direct3D configuration.

Leading PC Hardware Vendors Ship Direct3D-Enabled Systems for Holiday Season

Many leading PC manufacturers will offer Direct3D-based products in time for the holiday season; these products include the IBM
®
Aptiva
TM
, Compaq
®
Presario
TM
and NEC Technologies PowerMate
TM
and Ready
TM
. Several major graphics accelerator card suppliers plan to ship standalone Direct3D-enabled graphics accelerator cards, including the Creative Labs 3D Blaster
TM
, Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc. Stealth 3D
TM
and EDGE
®
3D, and Orchid Technology Righteous 3D
TM
. These products are based on the first wave of Direct3D-based accelerators including 3Dfx Interactive Voodoo Graphics

™

, 3Dlabs PERMEDIA

TM
and ATI Technologies Inc. 3D RAGE
TM
, Rendition Inc. Verite
TM
and S3 Inc. ViRGE
TM
.

PC Manufacturers


We believe Microsoft’s Direct3D initiative will bring unprecedented 3-D graphics to home PCs,


said Rod Schrock, vice president, consumer division, Compaq Computer.


We plan to support Direct3D in our upcoming line of Compaq Presario products and offer our customers an exciting new level of interactive entertainment.


The new Aptivas just announced are the first consumer PCs with fully integrated 3-D graphics,


said Jose Garcia, general manager, consumer desktop systems, IBM.


Our new hardware acceleration, combined with Microsoft Direct3D, makes Aptiva a platform optimized to run today’s most innovative 3-D gaming and Internet applications.


A select number of our new desktop PCs, Ready for the consumer and PowerMate for the corporate market, will ship with Microsoft Direct3D,


said Murali Dharan, vice president, desktop PCs, NEC Technologies.


We have had a long-term strategic relationship with Microsoft, and this new implementation allows us to continue to provide our Ready and PowerMate users with the latest performance systems.

Upgrade Kit Manufacturers


Creative Labs has worked very closely with Microsoft to ensure that our 3D Blaster products fully support the Direct3D API,


said Hock Loew, vice president of the video and graphics product group at Creative Labs.


Direct3D reaffirms our belief that 3-D graphics will play a significant role in the PC market and ensures that our customers will have the greatest access to new 3-D titles.

Lead video-card vendor Diamond Multimedia Systems announced its plans to deliver Direct3D-based products.


With strong support from the ISV community as well as hardware vendors, Direct3D has become the standard API for gaming,


said David Watkins, vice president of visual systems for Diamond Multimedia.


Diamond is planning support for Direct3D in its 3-D hardware products, including its new Stealth 3D 2000 and Diamond EDGE 3D series. We are excited about the final release of Direct3D, and we expect Windows 95 to be a big hit for gaming this holiday season.


Orchid Technology is excited that Direct3D will make Windows 95 an industry leader for mainstream 3-D software development,


said Danny Sanchez, 3-D product manager at Orchid Technology.


Before the end of this year, we anticipate that consumers will enjoy a broad base of entertainment titles that support Direct3D. The combination of Righteous 3D’s advanced features and Direct3D support will provide consumers a new level of total 3-D immersion with entertainment and multimedia applications.

Leading Developers to Release More Than 30 Direct3D Titles for Holiday Season



More than 30 titles that use Direct3D are planned for the holiday season. Customers can expect these first Direct3D-based titles on retail shelves in the fall, with the majority of titles reaching customers during the holiday season extending from November through February. This delivery schedule strongly positions Direct3D, because nearly 50 percent of all game titles are sold during these four months, according to PC Data Inc.

Game Developers

Software developer and publisher Activision Inc. confirmed plans to ship Interstate-76, Hyperblade

™
and Mechwarrior
®
II: Mercenaries

™

this holiday season.


Direct3D technology delivers a level of interactivity, immersion and pure intensity that rivals the arcade machine,


said Howard Marks, executive vice president, Activision Studios.

Leading game developer id Software, maker of Doom

™

II and Ultimate DOOM, today announced plans to release a version of Quake

™

based on Direct3D for the holiday season.


Direct3D is a crucial technology for the rapid and widespread acceptance of 3-D acceleration hardware, and it will likely prevent the drawn-out period of incompatibility and underutilization felt during the evolution of Super VGA,


said John Carmack, technical director of id Software.

Software developer and publisher Viacom New Media announced plans to launch flagship products Aeon Flux and The Divide.


Using Microsoft Direct3D allows us to offer true 3-D environments, reflective surfaces and dynamic lighting effects,


said Tom Ascheim, vice president of business development at Viacom New Media.


We are extremely pleased with the results and believe gamers will be, too.


Direct 3D lets us focus on creating great gameplay, rather than worrying about hardware compatibility,


said Ed Fries, general manager of the games group at Microsoft.


Our Direct3D-enabled games offer a great 3-D environment on the current generation of machines, but on 3-D-accelerated hardware, the experience is truly incredible.

Internet Developers

Direct3D is already in use on the Internet through key developers bringing interactive 3-D graphics to Web pages and realistic 3-D environments to the Internet.

Kinetix announced plans to port HyperWire, the first JAVA-based authoring environment for


3-D Web titles, to Direct3D.


Using Microsoft Direct3D allows our customers to experience faster, richer interactive 3-D titles on the Internet,


said John Ison, director of product management at Kinetix, Autodesk Inc.’s multimedia business unit.



Using HyperWire and our 3-D animation tool, 3D Studio MAX

™
, developers will be able to add ‘clickable’ 3-D VRML animations to interactive Java-based 2-D Web titles, all within a visual drag-and-drop authoring environment.

Other companies taking advantage of Direct3D for Internet applications and tools include Chaco Communications, DimensionX, Intervista Software, OnLive!, Sense8, Softimage Inc., Superscape and VREAM.

Direct3D Embraces New Platforms and Intel MMX Technology

To help software developers leverage investments as well as look ahead to evolving PC technologies, Microsoft will expand platform support for Direct3D to include MMX technology from Intel Corp.


Software developers now have a comprehensive, next-generation, real-time 3-D rendering service designed to exploit the high-performance MMX technology from Intel,


said Mike Aymar, vice president and general manager of the desktop products group at Intel.


Microsoft’s commitment to support Intel MMX technology through Direct3D optimizations, and future technology platforms such as the AGP interface, will deliver uncompromising performance for 3-D content.

Microsoft will also expand platform support for Direct3D to include the Microsoft

Windows NT
®
operating system and the Apple
®
Power Macintosh
®
.

Availability and Distribution

The final version of Direct3D for Windows 95 is available now to software developers as part of the DirectX 2 SDK. The DirectX 2 SDK is expected to be distributed to more than 100,000 developers as part of the July release of Microsoft Developer Network Development Platform. To join the Microsoft Developer Network in the United States and Canada, call (800) 759-5474 between 6:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. (Pacific time), Monday through Friday. Outside North America, contact the local Microsoft subsidiary, or call (510) 275-0763 in the United States to obtain local contact information.

Direct3D software and additional information about Direct3D and DirectX 2 is available for download from the Internet on the Microsoft Developer Network Web site at
http://microsoft.com/msdn/
. Microsoft will license the necessary run-time components of Direct3D royalty-free on Microsoft operating system platforms, allowing software developers to ship them with their applications.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ


MSFT


) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

For online product information:

Microsoft Web site: http://microsoft.com

Microsoft, Direct3D, DirectX, Windows, ActiveX and Windows NT are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Intel is a registered trademark and MMX is a trademark of Intel Corp.

IBM is a registered trademark and Aptiva is a trademark of International Busniess Machines Corp.

Compaq is a registered trademark and Presario is a trademark of Compaq Computer Corp.

PowerMate and Ready are trademarks of NEC Technologies Inc.

3D Blaster is a trademark of Creative Labs Inc.

EDGE is a registered trademark and Stealth 3D is a trademark of Diamond Multimedia Systems Inc.

Righteous 3D is a trademark of Orchid Technology.

Voodoo Graphics is a trademark of 3Dfx Interactive.

PERMEDIA is a trademark of 3Dlabs Inc.

3D RAGE is a trademark of ATI Technologies Inc.

Verite is a trademark of Rendition Inc.

ViRGE is a trademark of S3 Inc.

Mechwarrior is a registered trademark and Hyperblade and Mercenaries are trademarks of Activision Inc.

Autodesk is a registered trademark and HyperWire and 3D Studio MAX are trademarks of Autodesk Inc.

Doom and Quake are trademarks of id Software.

Apple and Power Macintosh are registered trademarks of Apple Computer Inc.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

Leading software, hardware and PC manufacturers supporting Direct3D include the following:

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