Microsoft Unveils a More User-Friendly MSN Gaming Zone

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 31, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. announced today that the MSN TM Gaming Zone ( ) has undergone a complete redesign, adding a variety of features to make it easier and more exciting for visitors to access the broad range of online games and gaming services it provides. In an effort to get first-time visitors and Zone regulars quickly playing their favorite games, the easily navigable site includes a more efficient home page and a simplified sign-up process. By utilizing the new Quick Join and Quick Host features, players of one of the many retail games offered as part of the Zone’s free* matchmaking service are automatically matched with a host, so they can start playing within seconds. Players can also create online profiles that other members of the Zone’s vast community of 8 million gamers can view when selecting teammates or chatting. Gamers can find the revamped site at or by clicking on Games at .

“Our goal is to continue to offer the best gaming community on the Internet,”
said Adam Waalkes, product unit manager for the MSN Gaming Zone.
“We have completely redesigned the Zone from the ground up, adding the features that our users have asked for to enhance their gaming experience. Responding to the needs of our diverse audience of casual and hard-core gamers is the key to building on the amazing success that has resulted in membership of the Zone doubling from 4 million to 8 million in less than six months.”

The MSN Gaming Zone debuted in 1996 with 15,000 members and six card and board games. Since then, the Zone has experienced phenomenal growth and now features more than 100 games available for play, 8 million registered members and 45,000 concurrent users during peak times. In addition to offering a wide variety of card, board, retail and premium games that appeal to all interests and skill levels, the Zone hosts more than 500 user-run tournaments per week as well as Microsoft-sponsored events, tournaments and promotions.

As a result of its growing membership base and expanding offerings, the MSN Gaming Zone has attracted top advertisers such as The Coca-Cola Co., Toyota Motor Sales USA and First USA. Through promotional campaigns, event sponsorships and banner ads, total MSN Gaming Zone advertising revenues have increased 1,000 percent over those of 1998.

About the MSN Gaming Zone

The MSN Gaming Zone is one of the largest gaming communities on the Internet, with over 8 million registered members from around the world, more than 45,000 concurrent users at peak times, and more than 100 games available for play. 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. 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.

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