Xbox Live Starter Kits Virtually Sell Out in First Week of Sales

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 22, 2002 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that the Xbox Live (TM) service, the first comprehensive, online game arena fully dedicated to fast-action broadband gaming experiences, has sold 150,000 Xbox Live Starter Kits. Because each Xbox Live account allows guest players, more than 200,000 players have already found their friends, talked trash, and started building their legends in the last week. Xbox Live is the first high-speed online console gaming service to reach these important milestones in the first week of service, including the first subscription-based broadband service to surpass 100,000 subscribers.

Virtually every Xbox Live Starter Kit at retail locations across the United States and Canada has sold out in less than one week of availability, but new shipments of Starter Kits are already on retail shelves and will be replenished throughout the holiday season. For $49.95 (estimated retail price), the Xbox Live Starter Kit includes a one-year subscription to the Xbox Live service, an Xbox (TM) Communicator headset and two online trial versions:
from THQ and
from Microsoft Game Studios. In addition, a diverse lineup of nine great Xbox Live-enabled games are available at retail, including
“Unreal Championship”
from Infogrames Inc.,
from Microsoft Game Studios, and
“SEGA Sports(TM) NBA 2K3”
from SEGA.
“SEGA Sports(TM) NFL 2K3”
“SEGA Sports(TM) NHL® 2K3”
are also available at retail.

Sales of Xbox Live-enabled games also have shot up as much as 120 percent* in the last week, and Xbox hardware sales have experienced an 18 percent week-over-week increase in the first week of Xbox Live Starter Kit availability, building on strong demand driven by a holiday offer that includes the console, DVD remote and two games for $199 (ERP).

“Wow, what a first week! More people played Xbox Live in its first week than attended the last two Super Bowls, and have played more games in one week than in the entire history of the National Football League, National Basketball Associations, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball combined. Game players have loudly demonstrated they can’t find enough hours in the day to compete in the online arena,”
said J Allard, general manager of Xbox at Microsoft.
“It’s been amazing to talk to and play with and against so many players all over the United States and Canada, and this is just the beginning of the online revolution that will fundamentally change video games and digital entertainment forever.”

“We sold out our entire inventory of Xbox Live Starter Kits almost immediately, and we’ve seen increases in sales of both Xbox hardware and software as well,”
said Dan DeMatteo, president of GameStop Inc.
“Xbox is clearly very popular this holiday season.”

Xbox Live represents the next step in video games, in which people from around the world come together in an online arena to play sports, action and racing games with friends and rivals, and talk with each other as they play. In just one week on Xbox Live, 200,000 online game players and their friends did the following:

  • Completed more than 5 million games, approximately 500 games per minute

  • Played more than 1 million hours of gameplay. That’s more than 114 years worth of straight gameplay in just one week.

  • Played more games than have been played in the history of the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB combined

On Nov. 30, game players in France, Germany and the United Kingdom will enter the Xbox Live online arena as part of an Xbox Live Test Drive in those countries. Xbox Live players will be able to compete in cross-Atlantic battles of
On March 14, 2003, the one-year anniversary of the Xbox console in Europe, Xbox Live will launch in eight European countries: France, Germany and the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Sweden. In Japan, players of Xbox Live are currently conducting a beta test of the service and will be able to enter the global online arena on Jan. 16, 2003.

About Xbox

Xbox ( ) is Microsoft’s future-generation video game system that delivers the most powerful games experiences ever. Xbox empowers game artists by giving them the technology to fulfill their creative visions as never before, creating games that blur the lines between fantasy and reality. Xbox is now available in North America, Japan, Europe, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico.

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live is the first comprehensive, online game arena fully dedicated to fast-action broadband gaming experiences. Xbox Live allows gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers via a high-speed Internet connection. With a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console was built from the ground up to be an online gaming system.

Xbox Live enables gamers to find and play with their friends easily; talk to other players during gameplay through the Xbox Communicator headset; and download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive.

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.

* 120 percent sales increase data is for
“NFL Fever 2003.”

Microsoft, Xbox Live, Xbox,
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.

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