Windows Vista Ushers in New Era of Gameplay

LAS VEGAS — Jan. 8, 2007 — Kicking off the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas with a bang, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled revolutionary games, technologies and partner support for the first-class gaming platform, Windows Vista™.

CES attendees will get hands-on experience with 15 of the hottest Games for Windows® titles, including some of the first games to deliver stunning graphics and gameplay through Microsoft® DirectX® 10 that will challenge any game for superiority in visual fidelity: “Crysis™” (EA Partners/Crytek) and “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Eidos Interactive Ltd./Funcom). Gamers will also experience “Shadowrun™” from Microsoft Game Studios, the first of many titles that will bring the Live games and entertainment network on Windows Vista for true cross-platform gameplay.

In addition, during the CES keynote address, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and Entertainment and Devices Division President Robbie Bach demonstrated the ease and simplicity of connecting people who play games on a Windows Vista-based PC to friends who play on the Xbox 360™ video game and entertainment system for a cross-platform game challenge with “UNO®” (Mattel Inc.) — one of the many new upcoming casual games optimized for Windows Vista.

Connecting Windows Vista and Xbox 360

Delivering on a vision that Microsoft presented at Electronic Entertainment Expo 2006, Microsoft Game Studios’ “Shadowrun” and Mattel’s “UNO” are part of the first wave of Live titles that bring the benefits of Xbox Live® to gamers on Windows Vista, including an active community of nearly 5 million gamers, a single identity for each gamer across Windows and Xbox 360, as well as Achievements, which redefine what it means to conquer a game and share accomplishments with friends. The Live gaming and entertainment network will enable gamers to play and communicate online across both of Microsoft’s gaming platforms, bringing more players and their friends together to play and connect in new, exciting ways. In addition, “Halo® 2” for Windows Vista (Microsoft Game Studios/Bungie Studios) will also support Live, including enabling Windows gamers to communicate with Xbox Live gamers and earn Achievements in the famed “Halo 2” campaign — a first for any “Halo” title on any platform.

Optimized Casual Games for Windows Vista

Puzzle-playing, fun-loving casual game players also will benefit from Windows Vista-optimized gameplay, with new titles available on MSN® Games (http://games.msn.com/en/vistagames). Bringing realistically detailed graphics and enriched gameplay features to casual players, the downloadable Windows Vista-based titles will be launched in conjunction with the new operating system in late January. The feature-length games include updated versions of the popular puzzlers “7 Wonders of the Ancient World for Windows Vista” (Mumbo Jumbo) and “Luxor 2 for Windows Vista” (Mumbo Jumbo); the all-new action and adventure game “Bliss Island for Windows Vista” (Codemasters); the crystal-collecting, quick-shooting fun of “Crystal Quest for Windows Vista” (Codemasters); “Spinword for Windows Vista” (Slam Games), a brainteaser combining word puzzles and arcade action; the gem-filled matching puzzle “Jewel Quest® 2” (iWin); and the updated and graphically enhanced action adventure “Darwinia for Windows Vista” (Introversion). In addition, the ever popular “Geometry Wars: Retro Evolved” (Bizarre Creations) will be making its debut on the PC. Requiring fast thinking and an even faster trigger finger, the PC version of this retro-inspired title will, along with most Windows Vista-optimized titles, support gameplay with both the keyboard and the Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows.

Windows Vista itself caters to the casual game player. Updated versions of game classics such as “Minesweeper,” “FreeCell” and “Solitaire,” as well as all-new titles such as “Chess Titans,” “Mahjong Titans” and the family-friendly adventure game “Purble Place,” will be included with Windows Vista from the start and will be easy to discover by way of the new Windows Vista Games Explorer.

Games for Windows Portfolio

Taking advantage of the new operating system’s revolutionary technology and more user-friendly gaming features, the diverse Games for Windows portfolio of titles includes something for everyone, from the most hard-core enthusiast to casual players. Games such as “Crysis” (EA Partners/Crytek) and “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Eidos Interactive/Funcom) exploit the DirectX 10 technology in Windows Vista with vivid new levels of graphical detail and depth, while the highly anticipated titles “Shadowrun” (Microsoft Game Studios/FASA Studio) and “Halo 2” (Microsoft Game Studios/Bungie Studios) will be the first to utilize Live services to connect the gaming experience between Windows Vista-based PCs and Xbox 360.


The Games for Windows portfolio includes the following titles:

  • “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Eidos Interactive/Funcom)

  • “Age of Empires® III: The Warchiefs” (Microsoft Game Studios/Ensemble Studios)

  • “Alan Wake” (Microsoft Game Studios/Remedy)

  • “BioShock” (2K Games/Irrational Games)

  • “Company of Heroes” (THQ Inc./Relic Entertainment)

  • “Crysis” (EA Partners/Crytek)

  • “Disney·Pixar’s Ratatouille” (THQ/Heavy Iron Studios)

  • “Flight Simulator X” (Microsoft Game Studios/ACES Studio)

  • “Frontlines: Fuels of War” (THQ/Kaos Studios™)

  • “Halo 2” (Microsoft Game Studios/Bungie Studios)

  • “Hellgate: London” (EA Partners/NAMCO BANDAI Games/Flagship Studios)

  • “LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy” (LucasArts/TT Games)

  • “Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar” (Midway/Turbine Inc.)

  • “Marvel Universe Online” (Microsoft Game Studios/Cryptic Studios)

  • “Rail Simulator” (EA Partners/Kuju Entertainment)

  • “Shadowrun” (Microsoft Game Studios/FASA Studio)

  • “Supreme Commander” (THQ/Gas Powered Games)

  • “World in Conflict” (Sierra Entertainment/Massive Entertainment)

  • “Zoo Tycoon® 2: Extinct Animals” (Microsoft Game Studios/Blue Fang Games)

  • “Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania®” (Microsoft Game Studios/Blue Fang Games)

  • “Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection” (Microsoft Game Studios/Blue Fang Games)

DirectX 10

The DirectX 10 API (application programming interface) in Windows Vista is built from the ground up to provide gamers with a rich and incredibly detailed graphic experience. Consumers can see this technology in action in the Games for Windows booth at CES with the NVIDIA GeForce 8800, the first DirectX 10-enabled discrete video card to hit the market, powering demos of “Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures” (Eidos Interactive/Funcom) and “Crysis” (EA Partners/Crytek). DirectX 10 utilizes the new Windows Vista Display Driver Model and Shader Model 4.0, giving developers the tools to bring amazing game environments to life and maximize the power of the latest video card technology.

Games for Windows Brand Momentum Continues

Games for Windows has allied with new publishers that are committed to making it easier, safer and more fun to game on Windows. Atari, LucasArts, Midway, Turbine Inc., and 2K Games join THQ, Vivendi Universal, Microsoft Game Studios and other leading publishers in releasing new Windows-based titles that feature the Games for Windows branding bar, which assures consumers that the games will deliver great new gaming experiences on the operating system. Newly announced branded Games for Windows titles include “Disney·Pixar’s Ratatouille” (THQ/Heavy Iron Studios), “Frontlines: Fuels of War” (THQ/Kaos Studios), “Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar” (Midway/Turbine Inc.), “Supreme Commander” (THQ/Gas Powered Games), “World in Conflict”(Sierra Entertainment/Massive Entertainment) and “Zoo Tycoon 2: Extinct Animals” (Microsoft Game Studios/Blue Fang Games). Those games, alongside previously announced branded titles, will meet a set of technical guidelines including easier installation, increased reliability and support for key Windows Vista features such as the Games Explorer and parental controls.

As part of the packaging and branding initiative, Games for Windows branding will be displayed in gaming sections of Circuit City, CompUSA, GameStop Corp. and Wal-Mart. Consumers can explore the Windows platform and titles in stores nationwide, which will help make their experience of finding and buying Windows games faster and easier.

In anticipation of the Windows Vista launch, GameStop is installing playable Games for Windows demo kiosks in 750 GameStop stores across the United States in January, enabling gamers to experience firsthand the latest in Windows games.

In addition, retailer backing for Games for Windows has begun to expand globally, with the first European retailers, PC World and Virgin, rolling out Games for Windows-branded signage and in-store promotions in time for the launch of Windows Vista.

About Games for Windows

Microsoft Windows is the most popular operating system in the world for games, delivering the widest range of titles, the most gaming hardware choices, and advanced gaming technology for players of all types. With Windows as the cornerstone, the Games for Windows platform offers publishers and gamers the most enjoyable and innovative gaming experiences available on a PC. More information can be found online at http://www.gamesforwindows.com.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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