Microsoft announced last week that it is expanding the DirectX games API for use in mainstream multimedia applications and making it a member of the ActiveX API set.
Microsoft developed the DirectX API two years ago to provide games developers with a standard route to writing games, three-dimensional graphics and real-time modelling for Windows-based platforms.
Version 5.0, which is now in first beta, will support streamed video services and real-time communications for use in Internet and intranet-based applications. The final version will be ready in June.
Mike Pryke-Smith, Microsoft's Internet tools product manager, said: "This will take multimedia into the mainstream for people wanting to get into Internet publishing, real-time communications such as Web phones, and video-to-video communications, rather than just entertainment. In the past, a DirectX-based application was restricted to one games machine, but now you'll be able to access the functionality via a browser."
DirectX will become the multimedia services element of the ActiveX Platform and will be embedded in the next releases of Windows and NT and the company's Internet Explorer browser.
This announcement is particularly important for the economic growth of the Internet, simply because it is the games developers/houses who are making the most money out of online gaming. Once DirectX becomes a part of ActiveX, the floodgates will open and Java will have a real problem keeping up.
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