MSN Gaming Zone’s Fighter Ace Tournament Challenges Notion of “Friendly Skies”

CHICAGO, July 23, 1999 — Today MSN TM Gaming Zone ( ) announced that the top two teams from the Masters of Air Combat online tournament will engage in a mock dogfight in the skies high above Chicago on Saturday, July 24. Co-sponsored by Fighter Pilots USA, the event is the culmination of the Zone’s Fighter Ace® tournament, which gave hundreds of gaming enthusiasts the opportunity to compete in the popular online multiplayer air combat game. When the dust settles on Saturday, the team left standing – or flying, in this case – will be crowned the “Masters of Air.”

“The Masters of Air Combat tournament is the latest in a long line of groundbreaking tournaments on the Zone,” said Adam Waalkes, product unit manager of the MSN Gaming Zone. “From the Tundra Madness competition to the Kasparov vs. the World chess match, our events and prizes continue to get more exciting.”

The Masters of Air Combat tournament began on June 13 with an open invitation to all Internet users in the United States who registered with the MSN Gaming Zone. Over the course of three rounds of intense wing-to-wing combat, an initial field of several hundred Fighter Ace pilots was whittled down to 16 teams, which competed on July 11 to determine the two finalists who will face off in Chicago.

Following a morning briefing meeting and a short training session, finalists will go up with licensed pilots in the Marchetti SF-260, an acclaimed sport-plane used by 23 air forces around the world. But because only two planes can be in the air at a time, one member from each team will compete against a member of the opposing team for a total of two dogfights.

“I’ve been playing Fighter Ace almost every day for the past year, but I never dreamed that my affinity for computer gaming would land me in a real cockpit,” said Justin Elliott, one of the co-champion pilots.

About the MSN Gaming Zone

With more than 6.6 million registered users from around the world and up to 450,000 unique visitors per day, 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 “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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