Microsoft DirectX to Feature Real-Time Voice Technology

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 4, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced plans to incorporate real-time voice technology, called DirectPlay® Voice, into the next version of its popular Microsoft® DirectX® suite of multimedia application programming interfaces (APIs). The innovation was adapted from the Battlefield Communicator (BattleCom) application created by ShadowFactor Software Inc., a Canadian company acquired by Microsoft in June 1999. The new DirectPlay Voice technology will be integrated into the DirectPlay networking API in DirectX and optimized for use in multiplayer games.

“With the addition of this technology to the DirectPlay API in DirectX, Microsoft will provide game developers with a powerful set of programming interfaces to cleanly integrate voice technology into their games,”
said Paul Donlan, program manager for DirectX at Microsoft.
“Real-time voice communication between players will greatly enhance the gameplay experience. Imagine table talk during an online bridge game or squad collaboration during World War II-era flying games such as ‘Combat Flight Simulator.’ Once embedded into DirectX, voice technology will bring multiplayer gaming to a new level.”

In addition to enhancing PC games, the incorporation of voice technology into DirectX will enable computers based on the Microsoft Windows® operating system to be used for the development and operation of additional PC-to-PC voice solutions, including voice-rich Web pages, real-time document sharing with voice collaboration, and Web-based customer-service voice applications.

The BattleCom voice application has been available to consumers for purchase though the ShadowFactor Web site since 1997. However, effective Feb. 18, 2000, Microsoft will offer BattleCom as a free* download at . The ShadowFactor Web site will continue to function as the distribution site for BattleCom until the release of the next version of DirectX, scheduled for this summer. At that time, BattleCom and the ShadowFactor Web site will be phased out in lieu of voice technology applications derived from the next version of DirectX.

The most current version of DirectX, DirectX 7.0a, is available for free* consumer download from the DirectX Home User Web page, at , or by using the Windows Update feature in Windows 98. Likewise, the DirectX Software Development Kit (SDK) can be ordered from the DirectX Developer Downloads Web page, at .

Microsoft DirectX is an advanced suite of multimedia APIs built into Microsoft Windows operating systems. DirectX provides a standard development platform for Windows-based PCs by enabling software developers to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code. DirectX was first introduced in 1995 and is now a recognized standard for multimedia application development.

About ShadowFactor

Established in 1997, ShadowFactor Software Inc. develops communication software for multiplayer games and was acquired by Microsoft in June 1999. ShadowFactor products include Battlefield Communicator and the Battlefield Communicator Dedicated Server.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

*Connect-time charges may apply.

Microsoft, DirectPlay, DirectX and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
ShadowFactor is a registered trademark of ShadowFactor Software Inc., a subsidiary of Microsoft Corp.
The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the 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 on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. If you are interested in viewing additional information about ShadowFactor, please visit and .

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