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First European Halo 2 Championship on Xbox Live

Become National Champion & Earn your Way to the World Wide Finals

London, 7th March 2005 - Pick up your weapons, gather your strength and prepare yourself for ultimate combat in the first ever European Halo® 2 Championship.

Yes, today is the day to answer the call to save Earth and all of humankind in the tournament we've all been waiting for. Gamers have two weeks from today, 7th March, to register in what is the first stage of the Halo 2 Championship, hosted on the Xbox® LiveTM service. Registration closes on 20th March when eight winners will battle to win the title of UK Halo 2 Champion and, ultimately, the chance to take part in the Xbox Live Halo 2 Worldwide Finals in April.

What is the prize?

The top eight players from the UK will fight it out in the second stage of the tournament which takes place on Saturday 9th April, 2005. But there can be only one national winner. The winner will not only take the title of UK Halo 2 Champion but they also win a state of the art Samsung digital camcorder worth over £400, a special edition 'money can't buy' half-sized Master Chief statue worth around £350, plus a Halo 2 Championship Plaque and commemorative Halo 2 T Shirt. Of the 14 European countries taking part, one Halo 2 Champion from each nation then has the opportunity to go through to the Worldwide Finals which will be announced later in March.

How do I take part?

First you need go to the following URL and register for the tournament: http://www.xbox.com/en-gb/community/halo2tournament.htm

Registration starts today, 7th March 12:00 GMT nd will close at 12:00 GMT on 20th March. Once registered gamers can begin the epic journey to the top of the Rumble Pit Leaderboard. Just sign into Xbox Live, select OptiMatch and start playing in the Rumble Pit. The top eight eligible players who are registered on the Rumble Pit leaderboard from the UK will win a place at the UK final.

To be eligible, gamers should subscribe to Xbox Live, be over 16 and be in one of the participating European countries - UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Switzerland.

Terms and conditions of the tournament can be found at the following URL: http://www.xbox.com/en-gb/community/halo2tournamenttsandcs.htm

To find out about other great Xbox Live events including Game With Fame, tournaments and Winning Weekends visit the Xbox Live Calendar on: http://www.xbox.com/en-GB/live/calendar/default.htm

There are now more than 1.4million members of the growing Xbox Live service, which enables gamers to easily find their friends and play together online; talk to other members while they're playing through the Xbox Voice Communicator, download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive. The service is constantly evolving with new features like voice messages and alerts, plus "Game with Fame", 'Winning Weekends' "Play and Win", and "Mystery Gamer." There are now 200 Live-enabled titles available world-wide including Halo® 2 which has so far logged over 61 million sessions on the game, with an average session lasting nearly 92 minutes - the approximate length of a feature film.

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Editors' Notes

About Xbox

Xbox (http://www.xbox.com) is the video game system from Microsoft that brings people together for the most exhilarating game and entertainment experiences. Xbox delivers an expansive collection of breakthrough games, powerful hardware and the unified Xbox Live online service. The tag line, "It's good to play together," captures the spirit of Xbox as the social hub of the new digital entertainment lifestyle. Xbox is now available in the UK for an estimated street price of £99.99.

About Xbox Live

A new frontier in imagination and extraordinary interaction, no one else offers the richness of online gameplay found on Xbox Live. The world's only unified global online console games service, Xbox Live is continuously innovating to provide members with unparalleled experiences. This unique service unites gamers together in a dynamic community where they can experience the best online games, exclusive programming and continuous downloadable content. Xbox Live launched in the United States in November 2002 and is available in 24 countries. Please visit http://www.xbox.com/live for more information.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® video game system and Windows 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 (http://www.xbox.com/), including such franchises as "Halo®," "Project Gotham Racing®" and Zone.com (http://www.zone.com/), the official games channel for the MSN® network and home to such hits as "Bejeweled" and "OutSmartTM."

About Bungie

Bungie Studios was founded in 1991 with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it has produced games such as the "Marathon Trilogy" and the first two "Myth" games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Released in 2001, "Halo: Combat Evolved" has achieved phenomenal success on the Microsoft Xbox video game system and is also available for the PC. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net.

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.

For more information, please contact:

Marie-Claire Suter

UK PR Manager - Xbox & PC Games

Tel: +44 (0) 118 909 4599

Email: i-maries@microsoft.com

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GamesIndustry International

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GamesIndustry International is the world's leading games industry website, incorporating GamesIndustry.biz and IndustryGamers.com.

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