REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 15, 2003 — Gamers, gift givers, adrenaline fanatics and entertainment enthusiasts throughout North America are in video game nirvana today as Microsoft Corp. unveiled plans for a special Xbox® holiday offer. The specially priced promotion, available at some retailers as early as Sept. 17, features the powerful Microsoft®
Xbox console, a two-month trial subscription to the highly acclaimed Xbox Live (TM) service, the blockbuster game “Star Wars® : The Clone Wars (TM) ” from LucasArts and THQ Inc.’s “Tetris®
Worlds (TM) Live,” an enhanced version of the perennial favorite optimized for online play.
With a torrent of new action-packed titles, a flood of innovative new features, and the surging popularity of the unified Xbox Live online gaming service, Xbox already has claimed the top spot on many wish lists this year. Approximately 400 games will be available by the holiday season, satiating gamers of all skill levels and interests. Breakthroughs such as Music Mixer and XSN Sports titles further expand the appeal of Xbox, while the console’s built-in Ethernet port means gamers can plug into the 500,000-member-strong Xbox Live community.
“By offering Xbox with two super-premium games and a trial Xbox Live subscription, we’re giving consumers an easy and affordable way to bring the complete Xbox entertainment experience into their homes this holiday,” said Mitch Koch, vice president, retail sales and marketing for the home and entertainment division at Microsoft. “There’s never been a better time to buy Xbox.”
Retailers are bracing for a deluge of Xbox demand fueled by today’s announcement, stocking up for what promises to be the busiest holiday season yet for the games industry. Recent studies from the Entertainment Software Association indicate that video games have burst onto the pop culture scene with fervor, attracting new legions of digital entertainment fanatics.
“When Xbox came out two seasons ago, we experienced heightened sales to the hard-core gamers,” said Pete Roithmayr, vice president of merchandising for EB Games. “This year, due to the impressive lineup of new releases and the added value of the Xbox holiday offer, we’re expecting that Xbox will appeal to a much broader, mass-market consumer audience.”
Offer Features Premium Games
With wrapping paper off and Xbox plugged in, families can immediately jump into two exhilarating titles shipping with the offer. The first, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” by LucasArts, is a high-intensity adventure incorporating popular characters, vehicles and settings from “Star Wars: Episode II.” Players can change vehicles during battle and pilot an array of units from the arsenal of the Republic, including a speeder bike, AT-SX assault walker, fighter tank and Republic gunship.
The second game, “Tetris Worlds Live” by THQ, takes everything gamers love about the addictive puzzle game “Tetris” and enhances it with beautiful 3-D graphics and all-new game elements, including online play. Tapping into Xbox Live , “Tetris” fans can test their block-dropping skills against other players all over the world. The “Tetris Worlds Live” community will be constantly updated so players will be able to view their online ranking.
Trial Makes Online Play a Snap
The holiday offer includes a two-month trial subscription to Xbox Live so new owners can join the throngs of gamers playing on Xbox Live right away. And because Xbox has a built-in Ethernet port and was engineered from the very start for online play, no bulky adapters are needed. The trial grants gamers full membership privileges on the unified Xbox Live service, meaning one Gamertag (network identity) works across all Xbox Live games and makes it easy to find friends online. New Live -enabled titles such as “Project Gotham Racing®
2,” “Counter-Strike,” “Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3” and “XIII” bring the number of online games to 50, making Xbox Live the most engaging online gaming service available.
Holiday Offer Available in One Box Oct. 15
For early-bird holiday shoppers anxious to get a jump on this special promotion, many official Xbox retailers will offer the holiday pricing as early as Sept. 17. (Free games and trial offers will simply be provided at checkout.) The console, games and trial Xbox Live offer will be packaged conveniently into one box starting Oct. 15.
Xbox ( http://www.xbox.com/ ) 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, Europe, Asia and Australia.
LucasArts, a Lucasfilm Ltd. company, is a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide for video game console systems and PC. Based in San Rafael, Calif., as well as on the Internet at http://www.lucasarts.com/ , LucasArts was created in 1982 by George Lucas to provide an interactive element to his vision of a state-of-the-art, multifaceted entertainment company.
Lucasfilm Ltd. is one of the world’s leading film and entertainment companies. Founded by George Lucas in 1971, it is a privately held, fully integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion-picture and television production operations, the company’s global activities include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual-effects and audio post-production, and Lucas Licensing, which manages the global merchandising activities for Lucasfilm’s entertainment properties. Additionally, Lucas Online creates Internet-based content for Lucasfilm’s entertainment properties and businesses. Lucasfilm’s motion-picture productions include five of the 20 biggest box-office hits of all time and have received 19 Oscars and 53 Academy Award nominations. Lucasfilm’s television projects have won 12 Emmy Awards. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in San Rafael, Calif.
THQ Inc. (Nasdaq “THQI”) is a leading, worldwide developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software for a variety of hardware platforms including PC CD-ROM, wireless devices, and those manufactured by Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc., Nintendo and Microsoft. The THQ Web site is located at http://www.thq.com/ . The THQ Wireless site is located at http://www.thqwireless.com/ . THQ is a registered trademark of THQ Inc.
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.
* U.S. estimated retail price. Actual retail prices may vary.
This press release contains statements that are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on current expectations, estimates and projections about THQ’s business based, in part, on assumptions made by its management. These statements are not guarantees of THQ’s future performance or the performance of certain titles, and involves risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Therefore, actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in such forward-looking statements due to numerous factors, including, but not limited to, those described above and the following: changes in demand for THQ’s products, product mix, the timing of customer orders and deliveries, the impact of competitive products and pricing and difficulties encountered in the integration of acquired businesses. In addition, such statements could be affected by growth rates and market conditions relating to the interactive software industry and general domestic and international economic conditions. Specific information concerning these and other such factors is contained in the company’s March 31, 2003, Form 10-KT filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. A copy of this filing may be obtained by contacting THQ or the SEC. The forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date on which they are made, and THQ does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.
Microsoft, Xbox, Xbox Live and Project Gotham Racing are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
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