Microsoft Releases Its First Premium Online Game, Fighter Ace

REDMOND, Wash., Dec. 18, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that its first premium online game, Fighter Ace
™online multiplayer game, is live on the Microsoft® Internet Gaming Zone ( . Fighter Ace, an online-only World War II aerial combat game, is the company’s first “pay-for-play” game that allows more than 100 gamers to play simultaneously in the same flight arena. The game delivers exceptional speed and graphics and is easy to set up and install, so minimal effort is required to get up and flying.

Microsoft is offering prospective players of Fighter Ace a free* 24-hour trial period (connect-time charges may apply) prior to selecting either a low daily or monthly rate for taking to the skies.

“The Fighter Ace multiplayer flight arenas bring intense World War II dogfighting action to life in a fun and engaging environment,” said Adam Waalkes, product unit manager for the Internet Gaming Zone at Microsoft. “Fighter Ace aviators will have a tough time putting down their joysticks and walking away from the aerial-combat action.”

Designed Specifically for the Internet

Developed by the Boulder, Colo.-based company VR-1, Fighter Ace was designed specifically for play over the Internet and features 16 historical aircraft from the United States, Great Britain, Germany and Russia, as well as realistic graphics and terrain modeling. Pilots will be able to fly in free-for-all or team combat arenas, or can choose to arrange private games with friends. Fighter Ace is available for $1.95 per day; those who fly more frequently have the option of paying for an entire month of play for $19.95.

“By offering a flat daily or monthly option rather than an hourly rate, we enable pilots to immerse themselves in the game rather than watch the clock,” Waalkes said.

Features Encourage Bragging Rights and Community

Fighter Ace tracks scores to determine how quickly each player moves up through the ranks from cadet to general, and some arenas are restricted by rank. New pilots can learn the basics by flying against each other, while veteran pilots prove themselves against the best of the best. In addition, Fighter Ace offers Player Profiles and a Hall of Fame. It also offers comprehensive Web-based help for novice aviators.

Players of Fighter Ace can join games that are already in progress, and they can chat with other players in a game as they fly.

The Internet Gaming Zone offers free membership with three components: free classic card and board games, free matchmaking for retail games, and now, with the launch of Fighter Ace, access to premium games designed exclusively for the Zone (connect-time charges may apply). The Internet Gaming Zone has served Internet gamers since October 1995. In May 1996, Microsoft acquired Electric Gravity Inc., the original designer of the Internet Gaming Zone.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

* The free trial gives you access to one 24-hour trial of Fighter Ace starting from the time you sign up for the trial. When the free trial expires, you must purchase a subscription to continue playing the game. Connect-time charges may apply. This offer is available to members of the Internet Gaming Zone only.

Microsoft and Fighter Ace are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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