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December 1, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Metacreations Corp this week announced that Microsoft Corp will include its Metastream 3D file format in future versions of Windows 98. Metastream is an open graphics file format for streaming, viewing and manipulating 3D objects over the internet. The technology will be embedded into the Microsoft DirectAnimation application programming interface, a component of Windows 98. This latest news is an extension of the companies’ partnership, which started back in June when Microsoft announced it had licensed the 3D technology from MetaCreations for inclusion in future operating systems. And in July, Redmond said it would include Metastream in its Chromeffects interactive media technology. According to Peter Bell, Microsoft’s internet server product manager, the main benefit of the Metastream file format is that it enables multimedia ISVs to simultaneously design 3D multimedia objects for multimedia games and web sites. Currently, designing multimedia content for PCs is a completely separate procedure to designing it for web sites, Bell said. But the new 3D format enables developers to write the content just once and use it for both mediums. For Metacreations, having Microsoft endorse its technology in such a big way can only be viewed as good news. First, it might encourage other software suppliers to do the same. But second, and more importantly, it will inevitably bolster the sales of the company’s software development tools which provide web developers and content creators with the necessary technology to design interactive 3D images. A spokesperson for Metacreations said she expected Microsoft to integrate the technology within the coming weeks.

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