Membership of MSN Gaming Zone Blasts Past 4 Million, Making It the Most Popular Internet Gaming Site

REDMOND, Wash., March 1, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the MSN
Gaming Zone now counts more than 4 million registered users with more than 30,000 gamers logging onto the site at peak times. These numbers establish the MSN Gaming Zone as the No. 1 gaming community on the Internet today and have resulted in a nearly 600 percent surge in monthly ad revenue from just six months ago. The MSN Gaming Zone can be found on the Internet at or by clicking on Games at .

The Zone began in 1996 with 15,000 members and six card and board games. Today the Zone hosts more than 200,000 unique visitors per day and offers more than 90 multiplayer games for players of all interests and skill levels. Players can choose from free* classic card and board games like Hearts and Chess, free* matchmaking for popular retail games like
“Age of Empires® ”
“Rainbow Six,”
as well as four exclusive premium games: the
“Fighter Ace® ”

online multiplayer games, and

“Two-hundred thousand daily visitors is more visitors per day than all the Disney theme parks combined,”
said Adam Waalkes, product unit manager of the MSN Gaming Zone.
“This activity generates 22 million minutes of usage per day on the Zone.”

According to Waalkes, this growth is due in part to the Zone’s thriving community, which now hosts more than 500 user-run tournaments per week and several free* Microsoft® -sponsored tournaments with prizes. In addition, players can start clans (there are currently more than 4,000 clans on the Zone), strategize and collaborate with peers, lay down a challenge, share tips and tricks, or even attend a guest chat with a celebrity game developer.

The MSN Gaming Zone is a comprehensive gaming destination for Internet users, featuring everything a games fan could want online. In addition to gaming news, free tournaments and player rankings, hot new downloadable demos, and links to obtain games, the Zone offers matchmaking for great games from leading publishers such as Microsoft, Activision Inc., Hasbro Interactive, Lucas Arts Entertainment Co. and others.

About the MSN Gaming Zone

The MSN Gaming Zone is a leading online gaming service that puts the social aspect back into computer games by bringing people together from around the world to meet and compete against each other. With over 4 million registered members and over 30,000 concurrent users at peak times, the Zone is the most popular gaming community on the Internet. The Zone offers free* membership and a wide variety of games including free* card, board and puzzle games; free* matchmaking for popular CD-ROM games; and premium games designed specifically for
“massively multiplayer”
gaming on the Internet. In addition, the MSN Gaming Zone has teamed with others to offer its members expanded gaming services such as industry news, product reviews, downloadable demos, online shopping and a broader range of online games.

About Microsoft

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.

* Connect-time charges may apply.

Microsoft, MSN, Age of Empires, Fighter Ace and UltraCorps 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.

Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at on Microsoft’s corporate information pages.

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