Microsoft Internet Gaming Zone Is No. 1 Place to Play Games on the Internet

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 25, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that its Internet Gaming Zone ( http://www.zone.com/ ) held the No. 1* place to play games on the Internet, according to the monthly ratings by Media Metrix, the PC Meter Company, posting a higher reach than any of its core competitors. Home to more than 2 million registered members and supporting more than 16,000 gamers simultaneously at peak times**, the Zone provides free classic card, board and puzzle games and matchmaking services for today’s most popular game titles.

“We’re very excited to become the top place to play games on the Internet and will continue to offer gamers what they want – great games and an active gaming community,”
said Ed Fries, general manager of the games group at Microsoft.
“By matching people from all over the world and offering a variety of games for all ages and interests, the Zone has something for everyone.”

Microsoft’s Internet Gaming Zone is a free, easy-to-use Internet-based gaming site (connect-time charges may apply) that allows gamers from around the world to come together to play against each other. According to Media Metrix, the Zone was rated the No. 1* place to play games on the Web in reach for June and July 1998. Last month, the Zone reached 1.3 percent of all Web users.

Other recent Zone milestones include the following:

  • Zone membership has grown from 15,000 to 2 million members since the site went live in May 1996.

  • In July 1998, Zone members logged over 4.5 million hours of game play on the site, equivalent to two gamers playing head-to-head for an uninterrupted 250 years.

  • The Zone has added more than 40 games since May 1996, including games from publishers and developers such as Hasbro Interactive, LucasArts Entertainment Co., MicroProse Inc., Red Storm Entertainment Inc., id Software Inc., Cavedog Entertainment and Microsoft.

  • The Zone has a large and active community that hosts more than 300 events such as tournaments, game tutorials and trial launches every week.

New games are regularly added to the Zone’s lineup. Recently, the Zone added a variety of popular titles, including the Microsoft® Motocross Madness
™
and Microsoft Urban Assault
™games, MechCommander from FASA Interactive, and Tanarus from 989 Studios. This fall, the Zone plans to introduce the Microsoft Age of Empires® Expansion: The Rise of Rome game, Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six, Civilization II from MicroProse and several new titles from Hasbro Interactive including The Game of LIFE and Axis & Allies. The lineup will expand as Microsoft continues to announce relationships with developers to bring some of their new titles to the Zone.

“We’re constantly working with top publishers and developers to bring the best games to the Zone,”
said Todd Stevens, product manager for the Zone.
“With more than 40 games currently playable on the Zone, we are committed to offering members the games they want to play, whether they be popular card and board games, the top CD-ROM games, or innovative online-only games.”

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

Gamers of all levels can play their favorite games against others on the Zone, including classic games such as chess, bridge and backgammon; CD-ROM-based games such as Microsoft Age of Empires, Star Wars® Rebellion from LucasArts Entertainment Co., Scrabble from Hasbro

Interactive and Quake II from id Software Inc.; and premium, online-only games such as the Fighter Ace
™
online multiplayer game and UltraCorps.

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.

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*Media Metrix does not categorize game sites. The set of sites compared was developed by Microsoft and includes the following data: Zone.com had a day frequency rate of 3.8 days and is based on the Media Metrix July 1998 Key Measures Report (at-home usage).

**As of Aug. 23, 1998

Microsoft, Motocross Madness, Urban Assault, Age of Empires and Fighter Ace are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

Star Wars is a registered trademark of Lucasfilm Ltd.

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

For more information, press only:

Adam Kahn, Shandwick, (425) 452-5400, akahn@shandwick.com

Matt Basta, Shandwick, (425) 452-5400, mbasta@shandwick.com

For online product information:

Microsoft Games Web site: http://www.microsoft.com/games/

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.

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