Xbox Live Bursts Through 350,000-Subscriber Mark As Players Rush for Fresh Downloadable Content

REDMOND, Wash., March 4, 2003 — Microsoft Corp. today revealed that more than 350,000 subscribers worldwide have joined the Xbox Live (TM) online game service. In addition to easily finding friends and using voice communication across all Xbox Live games, players now can enjoy downloadable content, an exclusive feature that delivers new maps, missions, statistics and characters to the built-in Xbox (TM) hard drive, keeping games fresh even after a player has completed all the levels.

New downloadable content for
“MechAssault (TM) ,”
the popular Xbox Live-enabled game from Microsoft Game Studios, drove more than 172,000 downloads during the first week of availability. Xbox Live players from around the world had access to two new Mechs and two new levels. When Xbox Live launches in Europe on March 14, players of the best-selling Xbox game last holiday season,
“Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell (TM) ,”
from Ubi Soft Entertainment, will have access to a new level, Kola Cell, which requires players to utilize the game’s unique gadgets and the characters’ stealth capabilities to achieve the level’s four objectives.

In a recent Microsoft survey, 82 percent of Xbox Live users identified downloadable content as the most desired feature for Xbox Live. Game developers are keen to deliver downloadable content because it allows them to instantly deepen relationships with enthusiastic fans by extending the life of their titles.

“From day one, our mission has been to give players what they want next,”
said J Allard, vice president of Xbox at Microsoft.
“With the availability of downloadable content now on Xbox Live, we’re making a big step toward keeping gaming current and adding an additional element to the industry.”

Globally, Xbox Live is playing host to more than 3 million game sessions per week, with the growing Xbox Live community — which includes players from the United States, Canada and Japan — logging more than 15.7 million hours of online play, or just shy of 1,800 cumulative years, in the first three months of availability. And with peak gaming times coming during television prime time, it’s apparent that consumers are fulfilling their desire for reality-based entertainment on Xbox Live, today’s true reality program. On March 14, the global Xbox Live community will span 11 countries, when players from Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom will become Xbox Live-enabled.

In the first three months of availability, Xbox Live Starter Kits have outsold the number of Sony PlayStation 2 Network Adapters by nearly 44 percent. In addition, players are choosing to experience multiplatform online-enabled games on Xbox Live. To date, the Xbox version of
“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (TM)”
from Ubi Soft has sold 35 percent more copies than the PlayStation 2 version.*

“Xbox’s online service and voice capabilities really enhance the experience gamers get when playing ‘Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon,'”
said Tony Kee, vice president of Marketing for Ubi Soft Entertainment.
“It’s the social interaction with other fans of the game that makes ‘Ghost Recon’ on Xbox Live so appealing.”

New exclusive game content for Xbox Live also will be available through retail channels, such as
“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon (TM) : Island Thunder (TM) ,”
an upcoming campaign disk based on the original
“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon,”
scheduled to hit store shelves this summer. The campaign disk will feature a new mission scenario, additional game types and 12 multiplayer maps for Xbox Live play, as well as four maps from the original
“Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon,”
at a lower estimated retail price than that of a full retail game. Players who purchase the stand-alone product also will have access to future downloadable content, including new missions and maps.

Fourteen Xbox Live-enabled games are currently available, with 10 more scheduled to come online in the next two months.

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live, which launched in the United States Nov. 15, 2002, allows gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers worldwide via a broadband connection. With a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console is the only video game system built from the ground up for online gaming. Xbox Live enables gamers to easily find their friends; talk to other players during gameplay through the Xbox Communicator headset; download current statistics and new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive; and play online — all exclusive features to Xbox Live.

About Xbox

Xbox ( http://www.xbox.com/ ) is Microsoft’s future-generation video game system that delivers the most powerful games experiences ever. Xbox empowers game artists by giving them the technology to fulfill their creative visions as never before, creating games that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Xbox is now available in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the PC, Xbox video game system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse game portfolios for the PC ( http://www.microsoft.com/games/ ), including such franchises as
“Age of Empires® ,” “Flight Simulator”
and
“Zoo Tycoon (TM)”
; Xbox ( http://www.xbox.com/ ), including such franchises as
“Halo (TM) ,” “Project Gotham Racing (TM)”
and
“NFL Fever”
; and Zone.com ( http://www.zone.com/ ), the official games channel for the MSN®
network and home to such hits as
“Bejeweled”
and
“OutSmart (TM) .”

About Ubi Soft Entertainment

Ubi Soft Entertainment is an international producer, publisher and distributor of interactive entertainment products. A leading company in the multimedia industry, Ubi Soft’s strong and diversified lineup has grown considerably, as has Ubi Soft itself. As well as steadfastly continuing to partner with several high-profile companies, Ubi Soft has also confirmed its presence on the global market by developing its own exceptional properties. Founded in 1986 in France, Ubi Soft is now present on every continent, both through offices in 22 different countries including the United States, Brazil, Morocco, Germany and China and through sales of products in over 50 countries. The group is dedicated to delivering high-quality, cutting-edge video game titles to consumers around the world. To learn more, visit http://www.ubi.com/.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
“MSFT”
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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.

* NPD Funworld TRSTS January 2003 data

Microsoft, Xbox Live, Xbox, MechAssault, Age of Empires, Zoo Tycoon, Halo, Project Gotham Racing, MSN and OutSmart are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft®
Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/ on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.asp.