Microsoft “Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings” Crowned Best-Selling PC Game

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 12, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the “Age of Empires® II: The Age of Kings TM ” game is topping retail sales charts in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. According to market research firm PC Data Inc., Microsoft® “Age of Empires II” outpaced all other PC games in the United States for four weeks in October, its first month of retail availability. In addition to being the best-selling game in the United States, “Age of Empires II” owned the No. 1 spot across all retail software categories for three weeks in October.

The success of “Age of Empires II” has resonated on both sides of the Atlantic. In Germany the game catapulted to the top of the Media Control charts, with customers acquiring more than 100,000 copies within three days of its release, and it is currently leading the United Kingdom’s ELSPA Chart Track for PC games.

“‘Age of Empires II’ has received a royal reception by game fans around the world,” said Ed Fries, general manager for the Games Group at Microsoft. “We have already shipped 1.4 million units of ‘Age of Empires II’ to retailers in the first month, and the game hasn’t shipped in every country yet.”

Sales for “Age of Empires II” are expected to increase over the holiday season, a period that accounts for more than 40 percent of yearly PC game sales. According to Bob McKenzie, director of merchandising for Babbage’s Etc., “‘Age of Empires II’ has greatly exceeded our projected sales forecasts, and weekly sell-through remains strong. We anticipate strong consumer demand throughout the holidays and expect this to be one of our top five PC software games of the season.”

Electronics Boutique vice president of merchandising Jerry Madaio agrees. “Electronics Boutique stores have had a tough time keeping ‘Age of Empires II’ on the shelf,” he said. “The consistent demand demonstrates the high quality of the product and its gameplay value. We expect it to be one of the top titles for the holiday season.”

In addition to being the top-selling PC game, “Age of Empires II” is emerging as one of the most critically acclaimed games of the year, achieving perfect and near-perfect review scores in leading game enthusiast publications. “Age of Empires II” is also one of the most popular retail games on the MSN TM Gaming Zone ( ), attracting up to 35,000 unique users per day since its release.

One of the most anticipated games to be released this year, “Age of Empires II” is the sequel to the award-winning strategy game “Age of Empires.” “Age of Empires II” spans 1,000 years, from the fall of Rome to the Middle Ages, and challenges players to lead one of 13 civilizations into greatness. Developed by Ensemble Studios of Dallas, “Age of Empires II” retains the epic scope and accessibility that has helped the “Age of Empires” game series sell over 3 million licensed units worldwide. Featuring the design expertise of Bruce Shelley, co-creator of such game classics as “Civilization” and “Railroad Tycoon,” the game combines stunning graphics with the drama and intrigue of the Middle Ages.

“Age of Empires II” features new and improved design features to quickly engage the casual player while offering more intense and engrossing gameplay to satisfy the hard-core audience. Beginning with minimal resources, players are challenged to build their nations into great civilizations and defeat the enemy by making strategic decisions throughout the game. Each of the 13 civilizations represented in “Age of Empires II,” including the Mongols, Celts, Vikings and Japanese, features distinctive attributes, buildings and technologies and a unique combat unit based on its historical counterpart. In addition, “Age of Empires II” features five campaigns based on the adventures of prominent historical figures, including Joan of Arc, William Wallace and Ghengis Khan, that draw players deeper into the game as they march alongside the hero to victory.

“Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings” supports multiplayer Internet gaming for up to eight players on the MSN Gaming Zone. The estimated retail price of “Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings” is $49.95 (U.S.). More information is available at the official Web site, , or on the Ensemble Studios Web site for developers at .

About Microsoft Games

Microsoft develops and publishes top-quality PC games that excite the imagination of the casual gamer and appeal to the passions of the hard-core player. The company works with some of the best game developers in the industry to create top-selling game titles, including “Flight Simulator,” “Age of Empires,” “Links TM ” golf simulation, “MechWarrior® ” and the award-winning “Madness” line of racing titles. Microsoft also supports the largest Internet audience of multiplayer gamers, via the MSN Gaming Zone at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

Microsoft, “Age of Empires,” “The Age of Kings,” MSN and “Links” are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

“MechWarrior’ is a registered trademark of FASA Corp. and Microsoft Corp. All rights reserved. Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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