Monday, May 8, 2006

Microsoft to Extend Xbox Live to Windows Vista

Microsoft's Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates unveiled plans to extend the company's Xbox Live games and entertainment network to the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system.

"By opening the Xbox Live entertainment network to the entire universe of Windows and mobile gamers, we're creating unparalleled gameplay opportunities that will drive incredible growth of the online community," said Gates.

The first product in this vision will arrive on Windows Vista this winter with the release of "Shadowrun," a game that will be shipped simultaneously on Windows Vista and Xbox 360, enabling cross-platform gameplay and continuing to bridge the gap between consoles and computers.

The new online network will provide Windows Vista and Xbox 360 gamers with a consistent experience, with one gamertag, one set of achievements, one friends list and voice communications between all Xbox Live members. Bringing the Live Anywhere vision to Windows means that millions of gamers worldwide can access all the best elements of Xbox Live whether they're playing on an Xbox 360 system, a Windows-based PC or their mobile phone.

By this time next year, Microsoft expects more than 6 million gamers to be connected to the Xbox Live network. In addition, more than 25 million casual gamers are currently playing games on MSN Messenger and MSN Games.

Also at the E3 show in Los Angeles, Microsoft previewed the graphic capabilities of its latest games-programming technology: DirectX 10.

Microsoft said DirectX 10 heralds "an astonishing leap in graphic fidelity over today's hardware, enabling the most realistic and immersive games yet."

DirecX 10, which will debut exclusively on Windows Vista, offers up to six times the performance of earlier versions of DirectX and support for massively more complex and intense environments. In addition to broad publisher support, DirectX 10 is backed by leading graphics hardware companies including ATI Technologies Inc. and NVIDIA Corp.

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