Microsoft Hails “Half-Life 2” as New Benchmark in Games for Windows

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 10, 2003 — Ensuring that the long-awaited sequel to one of the industrys most groundbreaking games will not only live up to five years of anticipation, but will also give gaming enthusiasts a reason to fasten their seatbelts in front of their PCs, Microsoft® DirectX®
9.0 will bring scientist Gordon Freeman and his creeping, shooting alien nemeses back to life — with the vibrant graphics and enhanced gameplay needed for a truly immersive experience — with the release of
“Half-Life 2® ”
by Valve Corp.

“We see Half-Life 2 as a new benchmark for the type of amazing experiences that can be delivered on the Windows® platform, and DirectX 9.0 is clearly serving as the catalyst for the development of these state-of-the-art games,”
said Dean Lester, general manager of Windows Gaming and Graphics at Microsoft Corp.
“Half-Life 2 emphasizes the trend we are already seeing: Games for Windows now deliver the most cutting-edge technology and immersive entertainment available anywhere.”

“DirectX 9.0 has been crucial in helping us create a worthy sequel to Half-Life, one that gives Windows gamers everything theyve been waiting for, a truly unequaled experience,”
said Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve.
“We are thrilled that our relationship with Microsoft has produced a title that all of us can be proud of.”

Among the singular advantages that the DirectX 9.0 API brings to
“Half-Life 2”
are increased speed and improved graphics — from more-detailed bump-mapped characters to more-nuanced lighting and delicate soft shadows that lend further realism to games on Windows. The central feature of DirectX 9.0, High-Level Shader Language (HLSL), allows for full-spectrum color graphics, video, 3-D animation and enhanced audio capabilities.

“Half-Life 2”
and its DirectX capabilities have been critically hailed by GameSpot, which recently wrote,
“Half-Life 2s characters are so detailed that even [their] eyes are modeled in great detail. So when [one character] was made to look toward the screen, the effect was that she was looking right at us, rather than staring blankly at nothing, as game characters tend to do. These are definitely some of the better-looking real-time 3-D characters that weve seen in a PC game to date.”

About Valve

Founded in 1996, Valve creates entertainment software titles, including Half-Life® , Counter-Strike™ and Team Fortress®
. Valves portfolio accounts for over 8 million retail units sold worldwide, and over 88 percent of the online action market. More information about Valve is available through the companys Web site at http://www.valvesoftware.com .

About DirectX

Microsoft DirectX is an advanced suite of multimedia APIs built into Microsoft Windows operating systems. This standard platform enables software developers to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code. DirectX debuted in 1995 and quickly became a recognized standard for multimedia application development on the Windows platform.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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.

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

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Half-Life and Valve are registered trademarks of Valve Corp.

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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp .

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