Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone Tops Million-Member Mark
REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 18, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the Microsoft® Internet Gaming Zone ( http://www.zone.com/ ) has registered more than 1.1 million members since its inception in October 1995. The Zone is seeing greater than 6,500 simultaneous users at peak times, and is matching users for multiplayer games at the rate of more than 1.5 million games per month.
Microsoft also announced today that in response to customer demand, it will add support for the Netscape Communicator 4.0 World Wide Web browser when the Zone’s next update goes live this spring. Support for Netscape’s browser will make the Internet Gaming Zone available to nearly everyone on the Internet, which should mean even faster growth for the Zone.
“Our members have been asking us to support Netscape, and we’re happy to open the Zone to that segment of Web users,” said Ed Fries, general manager of the games group at Microsoft. “Our team has been working diligently to implement this support so everyone on the Internet can enjoy the Zone.”
Fries said it’s exciting to see the Zone’s user base grow so quickly. “However, we feel our greatest achievement is the number of users online at any given time, because that’s what’s most important to our members – the ability to find opponents any time they want to play.”
Hit Games Drive Growth
In the past year, the Zone’s lineup of games with free matchmaking has expanded rapidly with the addition of popular Microsoft titles like the Age of Empires
game and Flight Simulator 98, as well as games like Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II from LucasArts Entertainment Co. and Scrabble from Hasbro Interactive, a unit of Hasbro Inc. In addition, Microsoft’s first premium, online-only game, the Fighter Ace
online multiplayer game, went live in mid-December. These additions, as well as free classic, card and board games (connect-time charges may apply), have brought the total number of titles available for play on the Zone to 27.
Gamers have a lot to look forward to as well. The Zone plans to launch its second and third premium games, the Asheron’s Call
online multiplayer game from Turbine Entertainment and UltraCorps from VR-1 Inc. Future retail games scheduled for free matchmaking include the Microsoft Urban Assault
™, Monster Truck Madness® 2 racing simulation and Microsoft Golf 1998 Edition, as well as Star Wars Rebellion from LucasArts (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. The Internet Gaming Zone offers free membership with three components: free classic card and board games, free matchmaking for retail games, and access to premium games designed exclusively for the Zone (connect-time charges may apply). Recently, the company launched the
Fighter Ace online multiplayer game, its first premium World War II aerial combat game designed specifically for play over the Internet where more than 100 players can compete in a single flight arena.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.
Microsoft, Age of Empires, Fighter Ace, Asheron’s Call, Urban Assault and Monster Truck Madness are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Outwars is a trademark of SingleTrac Studio, a GT Interactive Company.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
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