Just in Time for the Holidays, Microsoft Turns Personal Computers Into Home Entertainment Systems

For the first time, television viewership is on the decline, and with personal computers in 49 percent of homes, it’s no wonder. This holiday season Microsoft Corp. is giving computer owners a few more reasons to spend entertainment time in front of their PCs by offering three affordable, innovative hardware devices aimed at turning the PC into a home entertainment system.

On store shelves now are the long-anticipated Microsoft® SideWinder® Force Feedback Wheel; the irresistibly fun free-motion PC game controller, SideWinder Freestyle Pro; and the Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 (DSS 80) speakers. The first two devices, the newest under the Microsoft SideWinder game device umbrella, offer players a new level of immersion and realism and are aimed at those who play games on their computers. The speakers bring PC users crisp, clear sound more like the audio quality they’ve come to expect from high-end home audio systems. With DSS 80, full digital sound is available on the PC for the first time.

Pro Racing Drivers Steer SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel in the Right Direction

The SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel is designed to generate strong, sophisticated forces to create a realistic driving experience when used with force-feedback-enabled PC driving games. Created by Microsoft’s hardware group, one of the leaders in force-feedback PC game devices, the SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel offers proven technology, reliability and compatibility with today’s hottest games, as well as the realistic styling, feel and ruggedness that racing fanatics demand.

The SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel uses a powerful onboard coprocessor and a high-torque motor to generate robust effects in PC driving games that support force feedback. Effects include road textures; crashes; bumps; centrifugal forces; engine, tire and suspension vibration; and other conditions. The wheel has eight programmable buttons, including two Formula 1-style triggers on the back of the wheel that act as shifters. A force-feedback on-and-off switch on the wheel’s hub includes an indicator light that glows when effects are engaged. A sturdy quick-release cam-lock clamp makes it a snap to attach or remove the SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel.

The SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel is available for a retail price of approximately $209.95 and ships with slip-resistant pedals and full versions of two Microsoft driving games, CART

Precision Racing
™”
and the
“Monster Truck Madness 2® ” racing simulation game.* (Acquired separately, the games cost approximately $49.95 each.)

SideWinder Freestyle Pro Tightens Link Between Gamers and On-Screen Motion

The SideWinder Freestyle Pro is a radical new free-motion PC game controller that uses sophisticated solid-state motion-sensing technology to deliver immersive, intuitive PC game control in supported games. Gamers control on-screen action along the X-axis by tipping the device left or right, and along the Y-axis by tipping the unit forward or backward. The SideWinder Freestyle Pro is the first game controller to provide universal control, simultaneously delivering the proportional (analog) flexibility of a joystick and the digital precision of a game pad.

The SideWinder Freestyle Pro gives gamers freedom of movement in a wide variety of joystick- and game-pad-compatible game genres such as arcade-style flying and driving. In its motion-sensing mode, the SideWinder Freestyle Pro is a great match for many compatible arcade-style drive-and-shoot and fly-and-shoot titles in which gamers maneuver vehicles within a 3-D landscape while aiming head, body or weapons.

The SideWinder Freestyle Pro is available for a retail price of approximately $74.95 and ships with a full version of Microsoft’s award-winning game,

Motocross Madness
™,”
which has an approximate value of $54.95 if obtained separately.

Microsoft Unveils Its First PC Speaker System

Drawing on the technological advancements found in the Windows® 98 operating system and its built-in USB support, Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 redefines PC speaker system clarity, resonance and powerful bass performance. Microsoft is applying its experience in designing innovative hardware products to help create another new product category, high-quality speakers that deliver superb digital audio for the PC. The three-piece system, which includes a subwoofer and two satellite speakers, delivers a smooth, rich sound; simple installation; and synchronized, easy-to-use hardware and software controls – all in a small-footprint design. Microsoft Digital Sound System 80 includes software that makes it fast and simple for music aficionados, gamers and Internet radio listeners to tailor audio to PC application.

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.

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* Full gameplay versions, excluding Red Book audio portion for
“Monster Truck Madness”
and CART
“Precision Racing.”

Microsoft, SideWinder, Precision Racing, Monster Truck Madness, Motocross Madness and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

All logos and marks of CART, its teams, drivers, tracks and sponsors are the property of CART and its respective teams, drivers, tracks and sponsors, and may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, without the prior written consent of CART Licensed Products LP.

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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