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Microsoft drives game add-ons

The company rolls out new SideWinder controllers, which replicate the physical forces in turning a steering wheel.

Driving roughshod over road hazards will be more realistic this holiday season because of three new gaming add-ons from Microsoft.

Microsoft is hoping that its new force-feedback gaming controllers, the SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel and the SideWinder Freestyle Pro will offer a better gaming experience that more closely replicates the physical forces involved in, for example, turning a steering wheel.

The SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel, for instance, simulates road hazards, centrifugal forces, typical engine vibration, and other driving conditions.

The SideWinder Freestyle Pro, which was demonstrated by motocross racer Rusty Crank at Bill Gates' keynote speech at Comdex, controls the game as the device is tilted to the left or right. The Freestyle Pro is designed for use with shooting, driving, and flight simulation games, Microsoft says.

The two SideWinder peripherals are designed for use with force-feedback compatible games, such as Microsoft's Precision Racing and Monster Truck Madness. Microsoft has also posted a list of compatible games on its Web site.

Microsoft has also come out with new USB speakers, the Digital Sound System. The new speakers include a sub-woofer and two satellite speakers.

The Sidewinder Freestyle Pro is available for a retail price of $74.95. The SideWinder Force Feedback Wheel is available for $209.95.