MSN Rings in the Online Holiday Shopping Season

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 15, 2000 — Those in need of a break from the maddening headaches and tension often brought on by jingle bells, mistletoe and halls decked with lights can find reprieve at Zone for the Holidays,’s virtual den located at , launched today as a family-oriented site complete with snowball fights, snowboarding, traditional card and board games, and even a chance to win a family reunion.

“There are so many things causing stress at this time of year that we wanted to create an escape for the entire family,”
said Dean Hachamovitch, product unit manager at Microsoft Corp.

We built Zone for the Holidays by combining traditional family activities with the 21st-century appeal of playing games online .

Visitors to Zone for the Holidays will find a variety of online festivities, including
“Falling Stars,”
a glittering puzzle blast; building a virtual snowman in
“Snowman Designer”
“Extreme Snowboarding”
“Snowball Attack”
; and
“Holiday You Know It! Trivia.” In addition, the competitive gamer can partake in exclusive holiday tournaments for Microsoft® “Age of Empires® ,”
Cribbage, Backgammon and Spades. For further holiday relief, the site also features a gift-buying guide for the gamer in the family, customized e-greetings, holiday tips and fun ideas.

After reducing stress with a quick game, revelers visiting Zone for the Holidays can enter to win* 10 round-trip airline tickets home in the MSN® Holiday Family Reunion sweepstakes. The Zone is working with and™
to grant one lucky winner a real-world family reunion with 10 round-trip airfare tickets within the 48 contiguous United States. Contest details can be found at by clicking on the Sweepstakes link. The Zone for the Holidays site will be available from Nov. 15, 2000, until Jan. 4, 2001. The MSN HomeAdvisor Family Reunion sweepstakes ends Dec. 12, 2000.

About (a k a the MSN Gaming Zone) is the largest multiplayer gaming site on the Internet, with 18 million registered members around the world, more than 80,000 concurrent users at peak times, and in excess of 150 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 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. Zone wants to know: Have you played today?

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies 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.

* No purchase necessary. Open to legal residents of the 48 contiguous United States and the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older. For full rules, see the Web site.

** Connect-time charges may apply.

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

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the 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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