Zookeeper Tops List as Children’s Ideal Career

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 29, 2006 — It’s no surprise that kids love animals, but did you know they have an interest in taking care of them professionally? More than a quarter (26 percent) of children recently surveyed said they want to be a zookeeper when they grow up, as reported in the “Zoo Tycoon® 2” Inside Young Minds study. The study, conducted on behalf of Microsoft Game Studios and the “Zoo Tycoon 2” franchise team, surveyed children ages 6 to 11. Other top career choices were doctor, with 19 percent of votes, and schoolteacher, with 18 percent.

As kids head back to school, their teachers may want to take note of the top choices for field trip destinations. Animal-related venues received top billing in the survey, with kids picking aquariums (35 percent) and zoos (30 percent) as their favorites. As for nontraditional pets, monkeys were the preferred choice, with four in 10 children (41 percent) picking them over dolphins, which came in second with 27 percent of the votes.

If children could be any animal, what would they be? Dolphins (30 percent) swam to the top of their list, and monkeys (28 percent) and lions (27 percent) took second and third place, respectively. Dolphins were especially popular among girls, receiving 40 percent of their votes. Boys, however, would rather be lions, with 37 percent choosing the ferocious animal as their top choice.

Since its launch in November 2004, the “Zoo Tycoon 2” computer game for Microsoft® Windows® has continued the award-winning legacy of its predecessors and has been recognized by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences, Children’s Software & New Media Revue and Scholastic’s Parent & Child magazine. Developed by Blue Fang Games LLC, the “Zoo Tycoon 2” franchise provides aspiring zookeepers and animal-lovers alike with the opportunity to build their dream zoo while also ensuring animal happiness, guest satisfaction and profitability.

Recent additions to the franchise include the “Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species” and “Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure” expansion packs and the downloadable “Zoo Tycoon 2: Dino Danger Pack.” And with the “Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania®” expansion pack being released in October, children will be able to live out their dolphin and other marine life fantasies by creating the ultimate aquatic adventure with customizable shows. In these ways Microsoft Game Studios is continuing to bring the ultimate and award-winning zoo and aquarium experience straight into living rooms nationwide.

About the Study

The “Zoo Tycoon 2” Inside Young Minds survey was conducted by StrategyOne, an applied research consulting firm, on behalf of Microsoft Game Studios. The nationally representative telephone survey polled 253 children ages 6 to 11 regarding their animal preferences. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 6.2 percent at the 95 percent level of confidence.

About “Zoo Tycoon”

“Zoo Tycoon” has been one of the top-selling “Tycoon” game titles since its launch in 2001. Simple to play yet challenging to master, “Zoo Tycoon” offers engaging gameplay for animal lovers and simulation game fans of all ages. The captivating imagery, clever gameplay and interactive tutorials in the vibrant and appealing “Zoo Tycoon” make it easy to play right out of the box. “Zoo Tycoon” has something for everyone, stimulating creativity and imagination as players respond to the needs of the animals and guests. Additional information is available at http://www.zootycoon.com.

About Blue Fang Games

Blue Fang Games is an independent game developer dedicated to creating compelling, emotionally engaging games focused on the animal kingdom that set the benchmark for broad-based family entertainment. Blue Fang’s “Zoo Tycoon” franchise, published by Microsoft Game Studios, has established itself as one of the most popular PC gaming franchises and has sold over 5 million units worldwide. Founded in 1998, Blue Fang Games is located in Waltham, Mass. For more information, visit Blue Fang Games on the Web at http://www.bluefang.com.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® and Xbox 360™ video game systems, the Microsoft Windows operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon”; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as the upcoming “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo®,” “Fable®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport™”; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.”

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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