REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 17, 2006 — Flight jockeys, military tacticians and animal lovers can rejoice this holiday season; Microsoft® Games for Windows® has something for everyone. Carrying the Games for Windows branding bar, new titles available today include the highly anticipated “Flight Simulator X,” and extremely popular expansion packs “Age of Empires® III: The WarChiefs,” and “Zoo Tycoon® 2: Marine Mania®.” Also available today is the “Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection,” which includes the original “Zoo Tycoon 2” and two expansion packs.
Other recent Games for Windows releases sure to be on the top of many holiday lists are the epic World War II strategy game “Company of Heroes” and the family-friendly “LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy.” Each of these games will also carry the new Games for Windows branding bar, which ensures that the game has met a set of technical guidelines that give consumers a consistent, reliable gaming experience on Windows XP and the forthcoming Windows Vista™ operating systems. The guidelines help ease game installation, increase reliability and add support for key Windows Vista features, such as the Games Explorer and Parental Controls. Following is a list of Games for Windows titles to check out this holiday season:
“Flight Simulator X” (Microsoft Game Studios). The franchise that’s been flying high for more than two decades lets gamers of all ages and skill levels experience what it is like to be an aviator traveling the globe either solo or online with others. With more than 50 new missions to choose from, Windows aviators can pilot dozens of new aircraft, including the AirCreation 582SL Ultralight and Maule M7-260C Orion. “Flight Simulator X” is available in standard and deluxe versions. The deluxe edition will come with additional planes and missions. Each carries a estimated retail price of $49.99 (U.S.) and $69.99 (U.S.), respectively.
“Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania” and the “Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection” (Microsoft Game Studios). These additions to the wildly popular, award-winning franchise will appeal to the animal lover in all of us and are fun for families and sim enthusiasts alike. Players experience an ocean of fun in the expansion pack “Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania.” They can care for 20 new aquatic animals, create breathtaking underwater exhibits, train animals to do tricks, and then create splashy marine shows. “Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection” triples the zoo fun by combining three award-winning fan favorites — “Zoo Tycoon 2,” “Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species” and “Zoo Tycoon 2: African Adventure” — to deliver the ultimate in zoo fun. Estimated retail prices are $29.99 ($U.S.) for “Zoo Tycoon 2: Marine Mania” and $39.99 (U.S.) for “Zoo Tycoon 2: Zookeeper Collection.”
“Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs” (Microsoft Game Studios). The new expansion pack for the best-selling real-time strategy game of 2005, “Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs” lets gamers of all ages lead three new playable Native American civilizations as they expand their empires and fight for control of the Americas or enjoy an all-new, single-player campaign. “The WarChiefs” also brings new maps, units and technologies to the European civilizations from “Age of Empires III.” The estimated retail price for “Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs” is $29.99 (U.S.).
“Company of Heroes” (THQ). This World War II real-time strategy game brings to life the journey of the brave men of Able Company as they fight across Europe in one of the greatest wars mankind has ever known. From the opening shots of the D-Day invasion of Normandy, players will find themselves immersed in a rich single-player campaign. Gamers will enjoy the cinematic intensity of the experience as well as the courage and bravery of the heroes that defined a generation, set against the backdrop of the most dynamic battlefield ever seen in a game.
“LEGO Star Wars II” (LucasArts) combines the fun, endless customization of LEGO play with a hilarious, tongue-in-cheek take on the epic story, characters and action from Star Wars: Episodes IV, V and VI films. Gamers build and battle their way through favorite film moments and mix and match the body parts of more than 50 playable characters to create millions of possible LEGO Star Wars heroes in true LEGO style.
“For the casual to the hard-core gamer, the Windows platform provides the widest range of games, allowing families to come together this holiday season to enjoy an amazing lineup of titles that are as entertaining as they are groundbreaking,” said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of the Interactive Entertainment Business in the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft.
In addition to great new games, gamers can also enjoy playing the latest and greatest Windows-based titles with the Xbox 360™ Wireless Controller via the Xbox 360 Wireless Gaming Receiver for Windows, which will be available in late December for an estimated retail price of $19.99 (U.S.).
The soon-to-be released Windows Vista operating system will be the best Windows version ever for games. The new Games Explorer will make it easier for gamers to find and play the games they want, and Parental Controls will allow parents and caregivers to customize their children’s gaming activities to help ensure safer and more appropriate entertainment experiences.
About Games for Windows
Microsoft Windows is the most popular operating system in the world for games, delivering the widest range of titles, the most gaming hardware choices, and advanced gaming technology for players of all types. With Windows as the cornerstone, the Games for Windows platform offers publishers and gamers the most enjoyable and innovative gaming experiences available on a PC. More information can be found online at http://www.gamesforwindows.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
Note to editors: If you are interested in viewing additional information on Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass on Microsoft’s corporate information pages. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may since have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/contactpr.mspx.