Microsoft Game Studios Announces Million-Dollar Online Golf Tournament

REDMOND, Wash., July 10, 2002 — One of the most lucrative online golf tournaments in the world just became even more so. Microsoft Game Studios today announced that it is opening registration for the Million Dollar “Links®
” Virtual Golf Association Tour (VGA Tour), in which this year’s winner will have a chance to putt for $1 million.

Online golfers compete on the Million Dollar “Links” VGA Tour using “Links Championship Edition,” the latest installment in Microsoft’s popular “Links” series for the personal computer. PC golfers worldwide can participate by signing up at from now until July 22, when the first major tournament begins.

“We have given away more than $150,000 during the past two years of the VGA Tour,” said Scott Lee, Links brand manager for Microsoft Game Studios. “The addition of the $1 million putt ensures that the VGA Tour now has the competitors, courses, prize money and pressure to match virtually any other golf tour.”

The 3-year-old VGA Tour mirrors professional golf tours. Over the past two years, the VGA Tour has included more than 34,000 cybergolfers from 10 countries, making it a true international online sporting event. It comprises three major tournaments, a semifinal event for the tour’s leading money winners and a final event in which the top four golfers square off in a match-play tournament to determine the world’s best PC golfer.

To celebrate the launch of “Links 2003” in October during the tour finals, Microsoft will offer the champion* of the Million Dollar “Links” VGA Tour a chance to make a real putt on an actual golf course for $1 million. The champ will test his or her real-life golf skills by attempting to sink the ball 60 feet from the cup. Even if the champ misses the million-dollar putt, he or she is guaranteed to take home $50,000. A guaranteed total of $77,000 in prize money is available for competitors on the VGA Tour. The official rules and regulations will be available at .

About the Virtual Golf Association Tour

The VGA Tour allows “Links” PC golfers to compete in the largest golfing event on the Internet. The VGA Tour, located at Microsoft’s online gaming site , is modeled after the professional golf tours, with competitions, courses, sponsors and prizes. Last year, 22,000 PC golfers signed up for the 2001 VGA Tour. Paul Willey, who took home the 2001 VGA Tour crown, has won back-to-back titles, taking home more than $150,000 in prize money.

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the PC, Xbox (TM) video game system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse game portfolios for the PC ( ), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®
,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon (TM) “; Xbox ( ), including such franchises as “Halo (TM) ,” “Project Gotham Racing (TM) ” and “NFL Fever”; and ( ), the official games channel for the MSN®
network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Outsmart (TM) .”

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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.

* The following classes of people are ineligible to participate in the “Links” 2003 Million Dollar Putt: current or former touring club golf professionals; current varsity collegiate golf players; current or former golf professionals; or current or former members of the Professional Putters Association.

Microsoft, Links, Xbox, Age of Empires, Zoo Tycoon, Halo, Project Gotham Racing, MSN and Outsmart 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. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. Journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team for additional assistance.

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