Microsoft and Immersion Continue Joint Efforts To Advance Future Development of Force Feedback Technology

Microsoft and Immersion Continue Joint Efforts To Advance Future Development of Force Feedback Technology

BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 3, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. and Immersion Corp. continue to strengthen their collaboration to define next-generation force feedback protocols for inclusion in upcoming versions of the Microsoft® DirectX® API 6.0 and 7.0. The collaboration, which involves the Microsoft DirectX Group, Immersion Corp., and the Microsoft Hardware Group, builds on successful efforts to establish the force feedback protocols included in DirectX 5.0. The new DirectX protocols will enhance game developers’ ability to implement dynamic force feedback capabilities easily into their games and will continue to deliver consistent support across a wide range of force feedback-enabled products from many manufacturers. The result for game players will be an enhanced game experience and greater selection from a variety of new force feedback devices, such as the SideWinder® Force Feedback Pro joystick from Microsoft and a range of products that use Immersion’s I-FORCE technology, a hardware standard licensed by Immersion to leading manufacturers of gaming peripherals.

“By abandoning their proprietary interfaces and working together to establish a common DirectX-based standard for force feedback, Microsoft and Immersion have helped us create a standardized development environment that unleashes the full talents of game developers creating force feedback-enabled games,” said Kevin Bachus, product manager for DirectX at Microsoft. “We believe that continued collaboration between the DirectX team, the Microsoft SideWinder hardware team and the Immersion team will prove far more productive than working separately toward conflicting goals. The continued development of new force feedback devices and force feedback-enabled games is an example of what happens when would-be competitors join together to expand the market for all players.”

“This collaboration between Microsoft and Immersion is the continuation of a history of successful team efforts that resulted in a new generation of DirectX 5.0-compatible force feedback joysticks and steering wheels,” said Louis Rosenberg, president of Immersion. “By extending our joint efforts to deliver next-generation force feedback APIs for the upcoming DirectX 6.0 and 7.0 releases, Microsoft and Immersion continue to give game developers the tools they need to energize their games with unprecedented realism, immersiveness and compatibility.”

“The establishment of universal protocols in DirectX leaves plenty of room for healthy competition among hardware developers, without forcing game developers and users to choose between two incompatible technologies,” said Jennifer Booth, product unit manager for SideWinder game devices in the hardware group at Microsoft. “This should continue to drive the development of force feedback-enabled titles and provide a richer, more compelling game experience for consumers.”

About Force Feedback

Force feedback adds a new dimension to the gaming experience by providing realistic physical sensations that connect the user to the game action via joysticks, steering wheels, pedals and other controllers. With force feedback, game players can experience the actual physical sensation of being at the controls of a fighter jet or at the wheel of a racing car. By developing standard DirectX-based protocols for force feedback devices, Microsoft and Immersion will help ensure that game developers will have consistent support across a wide range of products from many manufacturers, and that end users can use all varieties of DirectX-compatible force feedback devices with any DirectX-compatible game that supports force feedback.


I-FORCE is a standard hardware technology for force feedback developed by Immersion Corp. and licensed to third-party vendors of force feedback peripherals. A dozen peripheral manufacturers are shipping or plan to ship force feedback gaming products based on I-FORCE technology, which is fully supported on the PC platform through DirectX. Current licensees of
I-FORCE include ACT Laboratory Ltd., ANKO Electronic Company Ltd., CH Products, Leda Media Products Ltd., LMP, Logitech Inc., Primax Electronics Inc., SC & T International Inc. and ThrustMaster Inc. Arcade products that support the I-FORCE technology standard include products produced by Happ Controls Inc. and Interactive IO Inc.

Founded in 1992, Immersion Corp. is a leading developer of hardware and software technologies for adding the power of feel to mainstream computing. Immersion’s I-FORCE technologies empower joysticks, steering wheels and other gaming peripherals. Immersion’s FEELit technologies empower mice, trackballs, and other general computer interfaces.

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.

Microsoft, DirectX and SideWinder are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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