Microsoft’s MSN Gaming Zone Launches Microsoft Bridge Club

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 1, 1999 — The MSN TM Gaming Zone ( ) today announced the launch of the Microsoft® Bridge Club, the Zone’s first premium service for card games. The Microsoft Bridge Club provides a superlative Internet bridge experience by offering the best bridge games and related educational content. Bridge fans who sign up for the Microsoft Bridge Club before Sept. 30, 1999, will receive a 30-day free* trial of the club. In addition, MSN will offer two months of free* Internet access and a selection from Audrey Grant’s
“Better Bridge”
book series to the first 1,000 people who sign up for a one-year membership.

“We have enhanced the bridge services on the MSN Gaming Zone to offer educational and competitive experiences to those interested in improving their bridge skills,”
said Adam Waalkes, product unit manager of the MSN Gaming Zone.
“The Microsoft Bridge Club matches players competitively, hosts events and tournaments, and provides bridge enthusiasts with superior teaching features.”

The Microsoft Bridge Club will offer more events sanctioned by the American Contract Bridge League (ACBL) than any other Internet bridge club in the world. ACBL-sanctioned daily matches and monthly tournaments will provide players with a place to test their skills and improve their rank. In addition, the Microsoft Bridge Club will award Net Points that can be converted to ACBL-sanctioned masterpoints.

The Microsoft Bridge Club also features content to help players improve their bridge skills, including the option for all players to load preset hands for tutorial or casual play. Lesson mode includes the option for players to track their hands in every game and archive them for future analysis. Teaching mode allows all players to see the cards that are played in all four hands, thereby enhancing an instructor’s expert advice.

The Microsoft Bridge Club will host articles and chats by top bridge players, including Fred Gitelman, one of the world’s top-ranked bridge players. And Better Bridge’s Audrey Grant, one of the most highly regarded and well-known bridge educators in North America, will offer lessons on the Microsoft Bridge Club in unique virtual classrooms. The MSN Gaming Zone offers several premium games on its site, including the
“Fighter Ace® ”

Asheron’s Call TM ”
online multiplayer games, but the Microsoft Bridge Club is its first premium club for card game enthusiasts.
“We hope to offer premium services for a wide variety of games on the Zone, not just for games that are considered hard-core,”
Waalkes said.

The Microsoft Bridge Club is available to all registered members of the MSN Gaming Zone for an annual subscription rate of $99.95, or a three-month subscription of $29.95.

About the MSN Gaming Zone

With more than 8 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
) 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,
“Fighter Ace”
“Asheron’s Call”
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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