“Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings” Crowned No. 1 On Holiday Sales Charts Around the World

REDMOND, Wash., Jan. 27, 2000 — Microsoft Corp. today announced it has shipped over 2 million copies of the
“Age of Empires® II: The Age of Kings TM ”
game worldwide. One of the most anticipated games to be released in 1999,
“Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings”
quickly climbed the sales charts worldwide, reaching the top position in the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Australia and Korea.

“More satisfying than earning critical awards and recognition is the great response that new and hard-core gamers have shown for ‘Age of Empires II,'”
said Ed Fries, general manager for the Games Group at Microsoft.
“We put a lot of time into making this a game both die-hard fans and new gamers would love. We would like to thank them for helping make ‘Age of Empires II’ a success.”

In addition to being the top-selling PC game,
“Age of Empires II”
is emerging as one of the most critically acclaimed games of the year, achieving perfect and near-perfect reviews and winning numerous awards, including GameSpot’s Strategy Game of the Year, GamePower’s Best of ’99 Strategy Game, PC Gamer’s Editor’s Choice, and Computer Gaming World’s Editor’s Choice.
“Age of Empires II”
is also one of the most popular retail games on the MSN TM Gaming Zone ( http://www.zone.com/ ), attracting up to half a million unique users per month since its release.

“Age of Empires II”
is the sequel to the award-winning strategy game,
“Age of Empires.” “Age of Empires II”
spans 1,000 years, from the fall of Rome to the Middle Ages, and challenges players to lead one of 13 civilizations into greatness. Developed by Ensemble Studios of Dallas,
“Age of Empires II”
retains the epic scope and accessibility that has helped the
“Age of Empires”
game series distribute over 3 million licensed copies worldwide. Featuring the design expertise of Bruce Shelley, co-creator of such game classics as
“Civilization”
and
“Railroad Tycoon,”
the game combines stunning graphics with the drama and intrigue of the Middle Ages.

“Age of Empires II”
features new and improved design features that quickly engage the casual player while offering more intense and engrossing gameplay to satisfy the hard-core audience. Beginning with minimal resources, players are challenged to build their nations into great civilizations and defeat the enemy by making strategic decisions throughout the game. Each of the 13 civilizations represented in
“Age of Empires II,”
including the Mongols, Celts, Vikings and Japanese, features distinctive attributes, buildings and technologies and a unique combat unit based on its historical counterpart. In addition,
“Age of Empires II”
features five campaigns based on the adventures of prominent historical figures, including Joan of Arc, William Wallace and Ghengis Khan, that draw players deeper into the game as they march alongside the hero to victory.

“Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings”
supports multiplayer Internet gaming for up to eight players on the MSN Gaming Zone. The estimated retail price of
“Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings”
is $54.95 (U.S.). More information is available at the official Web site, http://www.microsoft.com/games/age2/ , or on the Ensemble Studios Web site for developers at http://www.ensemblestudios.com/ .

About Microsoft Games

Microsoft develops and publishes top-quality PC games that excite the imagination of the casual gamer and appeal to the passions of the hard-core player. The company works with some of the best game developers in the industry to create top-selling game titles, including
“Flight Simulator,” “Age of Empires,” ”
Links TM ”
golf simulation, the

MechWarrior TM ”
game and the award-winning
“Madness”
line of racing titles. Microsoft also supports the largest Internet audience of multiplayer gamers, via the MSN Gaming Zone at http://www.zone.com/ .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft,
“Age of Empires,” “Age of Kings,”
MSN and
“Links”
are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

“MechWarrior”
is a registered trademark of FASA Corp. and Microsoft Corp. All rights reserved. The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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