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MS shines light on ShadowFactor

Buys multiplayer audio comms technology for DirectX 8

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Microsoft yesterday announced its latest acquistion, Canadian software developer ShadowFactor Software. ShadowFactor makes software that allows online games players to communicate by audio rather than by typing in text -- always a tricky process when you're trying to nail some SOB with your Railgun at the same time. Gaming veterans may recall Bungie Software offered just such a feature with its first-person shooter Marathon way back in 1994, but this is the first time a company has offered it in an Internet context. And with online multiplayer games increasingly taking on more co-operative, team-based gameplay, as in Epic's Unreal Tournament, for example, better player-to-player communications are going to be a godsend. ShadowFactor's technology, known as BattleCom, will be integrated into DirectX 8.0, itself due to ship Q3 2000. In the meantime, it will presumably remain a standalone product. Terms of the acquisition were not revealed. ®

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