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ECTS 2004

ECTS 2004 Article Author : Ian
Date : 6th Sep 2004
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Microsoft had a very large and quite daunting presence in the centre of the arena, with a large sectioned off room for meetings with developers and presentations on the future of DirectX.

Matt came up with the chat-up line of the day, moments before this photograph. Asking the Microsoft Lady if it was acceptable to "take a photograph", with a shocked response of "what!? me!?", only to be replied with "don't be silly, of the Microsoft entrance".

DirectX 9c appears to be the last we will hear of this gaming platform, as Microsoft make the transition to WGF (Windows Graphic Foundation). Windows Longhorn will be heavily reliant on WGF, running Avalon as a GUI over the WGF APIs. This will allow the Windows desktop to be rendered using 3D graphics processing as opposed to the current 2D bit-blitting.

Although DirectX 10 still appears on roadmaps, it will first appear as WGF in Longhorn (current release rumors are around 2006).


One of the more prominent displays in the arena had to be SphereX's sound booth. Although the display was obviously aimed at the Xbox console, it was a demonstration that could not be missed.

After talking to Alex Romanov about the commercial aspects of the system and the expected RRP (399), the demonstration of the speaker system began. A clip from XMen 2 was played on a plasma TV with the SphereX 5.1 System handling the audio. All 5 of the listeners inside the booth were impressed with the audio quality and the immersion.

After enquiring about the technical aspects of the system, the system works on an omnipolar sound system - meaning that the whole room becomes a "sweet spot" with the satellites quite flexible in position. As the sound was directed not only at the listeners, but also bouncing off walls and then back to the listeners, music sounded like a live performance.

The unit has optical, USB and expansion connections - and there are plans for a hard drive expansion and possibly a network card in the future.

Luckily, the unit can be connected to a TV/PC/PS2 and almost any other audio output device. PC Review will hopefully have a review of this speaker system from a PC perspective for a high-end gaming machine.

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