MS releases CE toolkit for Sega Dreamcast

Hoping to bolster use of its Windows CE operating system in the games market, Microsoft has announced the forthcoming release of a CE tool kit to allow developers to adapt PC games for the Sega's popular Dreamcast games console.

Hoping to bolster use of its Windows CE operating system in the games market, Microsoft has announced the forthcoming release of a developers' CE tool kit for Sega''s popular Dreamcast gaming console.

The Windows CE tool kit 2.0, available in early October, will allow developers to adapt PC games for the Dreamcast console, Microsoft said.

The tool kit offers enhanced games features, including increased 3-D performance, DirectMusic application program interface (API) for music composition, and Internet technology to connect developers to Internet-based games servers and home pages.

Microsoft's announcement is the latest effort to push its Windows CE operating system, heralded by the software giant as a ubiquitous OS that could be used in the emerging world of handheld devices, games consoles and set-top boxes, analysts said.

But thus far, Sega has used its own OS rather than the Windows CE OS in the 18 games it has provided for the Dreamcast console, said Michael Goodman, senior analyst for media and entertainment at The Yankee Group, an industry research firm in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

"It seems that in the initial emphasis to get the games out, the developers went with what they knew -- Sega developers," Goodman said.

Microsoft and Sega said they expect to have four games running on Windows CE by the end of the year, Goodman said. Games developers are working on more than 70 titles to run on Windows CE, Microsoft said.

Dreamcast is expected to have up to 40 games CDs by the end of the year and at least 100 within one year, Goodman said. Each game runs on its own OS.

Sega of America Inc., based in San Francisco, can be reached at+1-415-701-6000, or at http://www.sega.com/. In Redmond, Washington, Microsoft can be reached at +1-425-882-8080,or at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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