Microsoft Unveils Future of Multimedia at Meltdown ’98

Microsoft Unveils Future of Multimedia at Meltdown ’98

BELLEVUE, Wash., Feb. 3, 1998 — At Winter Meltdown ’98 today, Microsoft Corp. announced its strategy and new technology for the future of multimedia to an audience of hardware manufacturers and software developers. More than 700 developers were briefed on features of the forthcoming Microsoft® DirectX® API version 6.0 and other new technology in development. Those at the event – which runs through Feb. 6 – were given the opportunity to test their latest products with the most recent advancements in DirectX technology to ensure robust, reliable applications.

In the keynote address, Jim Allchin, senior vice president of personal and business systems at Microsoft, discussed the future of multimedia and its impact on Microsoft’s platforms, with a focus on the Windows NT® operating system. Allchin demonstrated future technology that injects 3-D graphics into the user interface for operating systems, Web browsing and new classes of applications.

“The overwhelming turnout at Meltdown ’98 is evidence of the incredible support Microsoft’s multimedia APIs have from hardware manufacturers and software developers,” Allchin said. “The exciting future of multimedia is truly apparent here today as thousands of vendors prepare to exploit the new features of DirectX 6.0 and beyond.”

John Latta, a leading industry analyst and president of 4th Wave, discussed the shift in buying patterns that has resulted from the new generation of machines under $1,000 as well as their impact on developers.

“The results of Christmas ’97 are in – it was the first holiday season in which 3-D technology played a major role,” Latta told audience members. “Moving forward, the data shows that 1998 will be a blowout year for 3-D, success that’s made possible by advanced multimedia APIs like DirectX. We believe that this represents a huge opportunity for developers, but they need to learn the new rules of the development game, including compressing development time to match 3-D chip innovation.”

DirectX 6.0 Previewed for Developers

Key new features of DirectX 6.0 were previewed today for the first time to developers at Meltdown ’98. DirectX 6.0, the next generation of Microsoft’s set of multimedia APIs, is scheduled to be released in beta form this spring, with final software development kits (SDKs) due this next fall. DirectX 6.0 will feature cutting-edge multimedia capabilities and enhancements, including the following:

  • The DirectMusic
    ™API, which provides a framework for musical interactivity through new support for MIDI and customized instrument files. DirectMusic offers substantial support for music software and hardware, and the entire architecture is extensible to allow seamless integration of any Windows® operating system-based music technology.

  • Faster performance and additional features in the Direct3D® API, including single-pass multitexturing, bump mapping, vertex buffers, stencil planes and texture compression

  • Greater stability and reliability across all APIs

  • Integration into Windows NT 5.0 (DirectX 5.0 will be integrated into the Windows 98 operating system)

  • Advanced DVD support through the DirectShow
    ™
    API

About Meltdown

Meltdown ’98 is an intense week of round-robin product testing, debugging and information sharing. Meltdown events give developers the opportunity to test their latest products with the most recent advancements in Microsoft DirectX technology, which ultimately results in a true plug-and-play experience for consumers. The next Meltdown event is scheduled for July 14-16, 1998, in San Francisco. For additional information on Meltdown events, please refer to the DirectX Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/directx/ .

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, Windows NT, DirectMusic, Windows, Direct3D and DirectShow 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.

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

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