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Thursday, July 20, 2000
MW: Peter Tamte on DirectPlay
5:51 PM | IMG News | Comment on this story

Yesterday we brought you news of the new company that will be formed by former Bungie exec Peter Tamte, in alliance with Microsoft. This company will bring many of Microsoft's current and future games to the Mac OS, a thrilling development to say the least. For more details on this new venture, we spoke to Peter himself about the company, DirectPlay, and other issues.

As reported, the first three titles the new company (as yet unnamed) will bring to the Mac are Age of Empires II, Links LS 2002 and Flight Simulator 2002. Peter had no plans nor promises for any past titles to be brought to the Mac, but emphasized that this venture was still in the very early planning stages.

The company will be based in Minneapolis, Minnesota and currently Peter is the sole member. At first he will contract with other porting houses, such as Westlake Interactive, for ports of MS games to the Mac; as the company grows he plans to add staff in-house. If anyone had visions of actual Mac games being ported on the Redmond campus simultaneous with PC versions, this will not be the case.

One matter we quizzed Peter about in depth is the sticky issue of DirectPlay, a proprietary networking protocol that Microsoft uses for their games and their Microsoft Gaming Zone web site. Use of this API has prevented Mac-vs-PC netplay in dozens of titles, from Heroes of Might and Magic III to Total Annihilation. Initially we had hoped this alliance between Apple and Microsoft might break down this barrier, but the picture is more complex. Peter said that he will work towards "solutions" that will make the games they port playable across both platforms, but that an actual port of DirectPlay to the Mac OS would be unlikely, due to technical limitations.

Tamte intends to make Microsoft's Gaming Zone web site, which has dozens of online games and a game connector service, usable by Mac gamers. He wouldn't comment on what other titles they were considering for ports, but noted that if their venture was successful, they might eventually bring the entire current Microsoft catalog of games to the Mac OS.

And of course, one of the titles Peter will be concerned with bringing to the Mac OS will be Bungie Studios' anticipated shooter Halo. This venture is an interesting one - just a month ago, some Mac gamers were claiming that Microsoft had killed Mac gaming by stealing Bungie away from our platform; now it looks like part of Bill Gates' purchase will help bring some very, very hot titles to our platform in the future. Definitely an interesting development, and we'll bring you more details as they arrive.

Microsoft and Mac Games PR

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• MW: Peter Tamte on DirectPlay5:51 PM
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