Microsoft, Sega Collaborate on Dreamcast: The Ultimate Home Video Game System
May 21, 1998
Inclusion of Windows CE Operating System Creates Platform That Will Deliver Innovations in Next-Generation Games and Entertainment

Microsoft, Sega Collaborate on Dreamcast: The Ultimate Home Video Game System

REDMOND, Wash., May 21, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it will collaborate with Sega Enterprises Ltd. on Sega's new Dreamcast home video game system, slated for release in Japan on Nov. 20, 1998, and in the rest of the world in 1999. As a result of the collaboration, Microsoft will provide an optimized version of the Microsoft® Windows® CE operating system with integrated DirectX® services as the operating system for use with Dreamcast.

The Microsoft and Sega collaboration marks a leap forward in game console technology. Dreamcast will include advanced hardware technology in 3-D graphics, sound and input devices, as well as an on-board modem to support Internet access and network gaming. The inclusion of Windows CE with DirectX provides a flexible, versatile development environment, supported by Microsoft development tools, that eases title development and makes possible true cross-platform title compatibility with Windows-based PCs. The result is a powerful platform that enables creative and technical advances in video games to reach entirely new levels.

"We have worked very closely with Sega for nearly two years to optimize Windows CE to provide the services and level of performance necessary for the exacting development requirements of video games," said Harel Kodesh, general manager, consumer appliances group at Microsoft. "We are tremendously excited by the opportunities the Dreamcast system offers to traditional video game developers and the PC gaming community."

"Sega is excited to announce that Dreamcast is the first home entertainment system to be designed for use with Windows CE," said Shoichiro Irimajiri, president of Sega Enterprises Ltd. "We are confident that our collaboration with Microsoft will create an unequalled environment for developers that will lead to the greatest selection of high-quality game titles ever seen on a home video game system."

Windows CE and DirectX

With the inclusion of Windows CE, Dreamcast will bring the benefits of an advanced Windows-based development environment to the world of console game development for the first time. Using Windows CE, developers will be able to create cross-platform titles more efficiently by taking advantage of well-established Win32® and DirectX APIs that are source-code-compatible with the Windows operating system on the PC. Incorporation of DirectX will also allow the Dreamcast system to capitalize on the momentum toward PC gaming and the ever-increasing body of developers creating games for the Windows platform.

The Windows CE environment has been minimized in terms of memory requirements and optimized in terms of game performance, giving developers the confidence that software developed for Dreamcast will take full advantage of every hardware capability in the system.

An additional benefit of this new software platform will be the key services provided by the operating system and DirectX-based game libraries, including support for input devices, sound, 3-D graphics, and memory and CD file management. Support in Windows CE for standard Internet protocols, Winsock and the DirectPlay® API will allow developers to take advantage of the Dreamcast system's modem capabilities. In addition, the modular architecture of Windows CE means operating system components and DirectX-based services can be eliminated if not required, or replaced by the developer's own custom libraries.

Development Tools

The development tools provided with the Dreamcast system's Windows CE Software Development Kit (SDK) are built around the Microsoft Visual Studio® development system version 5.0 with well-tested and refined Visual C++® development system-based tools. The tools enable video game developers to develop Dreamcast games on Windows-based PCs, taking advantage of the productivity and convenience features of the same advanced integrated development environment (IDE) used by developers for the Windows desktop. The initial SDKs are expected to be available to Sega-licensed developers by the end of May 1998.

Microsoft Windows CE is a 32-bit, Windows-compatible operating system designed to fill the need for a small, flexible, scalable operating system that works in a broad selection of products, including mobile computers, embedded products and home digital information and entertainment appliances.

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.

The information contained in this release relates to prerelease software product that may be substantially modified before its first commercial release. Accordingly, the information may not accurately describe or reflect the software product when first commercially released. The release is provided for informational purposes only, and Microsoft makes no warranties, express or implied, with respect to the release or the information contained in it.

Microsoft, Windows, DirectX, Win32, DirectPlay, Visual Studio and Visual C++ 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 registered trademarks of their respective owners.

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