Macromedia announces games site

Multimedia tool developer Macromedia has entered the crowded field of Internet entertainment services with its announcement of the Shockwave.com Web site. The site will be the centerpiece of Macromedia's new consumer division, which is eyeing the $112 billion entertainment industry.

Multimedia tool developer Macromedia has entered the crowded field of Internet entertainment services by announcing the Shockwave.com Web site today.

The site will be the centerpiece of Macromedia's new consumer division, which is eyeing the $112 billion entertainment industry. This is a new venture for the maker of popular multimedia Web browser add-ins.

The division is also called Shockwave.com, taking its the name from a Macromedia animation technology. The Shockwave.com site will feature games, cartoons, music, videos, message boards, and chat--all developed using Macromedia products.

Shockwave.com is scheduled to go live in July, with the debut of dozens of Macromedia applications and services, according to company representatives. Access will be free of charge.

Shocked for Profit

The site will be a for-profit venture supported by advertising, e-commerce, and sales of a new application called Shockmachine. Priced at $20, Shockmachine enables you to save unlimited numbers of Shockwave games, cartoons, music, and puzzles and archive them for later use.

Shockwave.com will consolidate Macromedia's existing Shockrave.com and Shockwave.com Web sites. Shockwave.com will feature programs from Hasbro Interactive, GT Interactive Software, and other game developers, as well as material from Comedy Central, Fox Interactive, and Mplayer.com. Those partners will create exclusive Macromedia content for Shockwave.com, according to Macromedia.

Shockwave Till You Drop

"Shockwave.com is the natural step in our strategy to add life to the Web," says Rob Burgess, chair and chief executive officer of Macromedia.

A free Macromedia tool called Shockwave Remote lets you save a limited amount of Shockwave content that can later be run offline. Shockwave Remote also lets you send and receive Shockwave media through e-mail, as well as search for Shockwave programs using a search service powered by LookSmart.

Shockwave.com will let you design a personal home page and will offer greeting card services and the "toon maker" feature that lets you animate popular cartoon characters from shows such as South Park and Dilbert.

New Tools

These announcements accompany the debut of Macromedia Flash 4, a multimedia authoring tool scheduled to ship in June. Flash 4 enables Web sites to support dynamic objects, which you can drag and place anywhere within a browser. Flash 4 also supports the popular MP3 music compression standard for near-CD-quality playback.

Macromedia is releasing Flash 4's source code to developers, so they can modify and use it in devices and applications. Game developer Sega is reportedly developing a Flash 4-based gaming system for release later this year. Start-up company Qubit is also using Flash 4 technology to develop a wireless Web browsing tablet for surfing the Net without a computer.

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