MSN Gaming Zone Membership Soars to 10 Million

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 19, 1999 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the 10 millionth member registration on the MSN TM Gaming Zone ( ). This is the latest milestone in a huge growth year for the Zone, which now boasts the following:

  • Over 500,000 unique visitors per day, more than double the daily traffic of a year ago

  • Over 50 new games, bringing the total number of available games on the Zone to 118

  • Ad revenue growth of 1,000 percent from the previous fiscal year

  • 4.2 percent reach, making the Zone the No. 1 Internet games site that offers multiplayer gaming, according to PC Data figures for October 1999

  • Average usage of nearly 40 minutes per user per day, making the MSN Gaming Zone second only to AOL proprietary in visitor usage minutes (Media Metrix Digital Media Report, Sept. 1999)

With a diverse variety of games to entertain everyone from the hardcore PC gamer to the casual card- and board-game player, the MSN Gaming Zone has succeeded in becoming one of the most popular interactive entertainment destinations on the Internet.

The MSN Gaming Zone debuted in 1996 with 15,000 members and six card and board games. Since then, the Zone has grown into the largest gaming site on the Internet, with an average of 500,000 unique visitors per day and more than 50,000 concurrent players worldwide at peak times. The Zone now offers more than 100 games, including a wide variety of free* card and board games, free* matchmaking for today’s most popular retail CD-ROM games and exclusive premium games such as the Microsoft® “Fighter Ace® ”

Asheron’s Call TM ”
online multiplayer games. In addition, the Zone supports a robust community through Zone-endorsed leagues and tournaments, sweepstakes, live gaming events and more than 1,000 user-run tournaments every week.

“We believe the Zone’s remarkable growth is an indicator that online gaming is the future of Internet entertainment,”
said Adam Waalkes, product unit manager for the MSN Gaming Zone.
“By providing the best retail and premium games and supporting our community, the Zone will continue to attract people who want an interactive online entertainment experience, one that goes beyond the passive experience that most Web sites currently offer.”

With this large, loyal, fun-loving audience, the Zone has attracted big-name promotional associates, including Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc., First USA Bank NA, The Coca-Cola Co. and General Mills Inc., resulting in a surge in advertising revenue. In fact, earnings in the first quarter of the Zone’s fiscal year 2000 have already surpassed earnings for fiscal year 1999.

“We work with our advertisers to develop creative, interactive promotional campaigns, sweepstakes and event sponsorships,”
explained Jonathan Wiedemann, product planner for the MSN Gaming Zone.
“Our unique ability to engage consumers and deliver targeted demographics to advertisers has succeeded where banner ads have largely failed.”

This month Microsoft launched
“Asheron’s Call,”
the highly anticipated, online-only, role-playing game developed by Turbine Entertainment Software. It joins other top-selling new releases such as the
“Age of Empires® II: The Age of Kings TM ”
“Rogue Spear”
“MechWarrior® 3”
games on the MSN Gaming Zone’s extensive games roster.
“We will continue to add exciting new games and content to satisfy our current audience as well as attract new folks who may be playing their first-ever online game,”
Waalkes said.
“Our next year promises to be even more exciting than our last.”

About the MSN Gaming Zone

The MSN Gaming Zone is one of the largest gaming communities on the Internet, with 10 million registered members from around the world, more than 50,000 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 worked 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 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.

*Connect-time charges may apply.

Microsoft, MSN,
“Fighter Ace,” “Asheron’s Call,” “Age of Empires”
“The Age of Kings”
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.

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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