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Get the VIP Treatment! Enter to Win an Xbox Live Backstage Pass to Play Halo 2

(London) 16th September 2004 - Microsoft today announced the Xbox LiveTM Backstage Pass competition featuring Halo® 2, which will give 20 lucky winners from around the world the chance to play Halo 2 multiplayer before the most anticipated game of the year hits store shelves on 11th November 2004. Nine of these lucky winners plus one guest will be from the following participating European countries:

Austria

Denmark

Finland

Germany

Switzerland

United Kingdom

France

With over a million members, Xbox Live is the premiere destination for online console gamers. In order to be eligible to win this prize, gamers must have a valid Xbox Live account as of 15th October. Winners will be drawn at random, on 22nd October, and will receive a three-day/two-night trip for the winner to Bungie Studios in Redmond, Washington to play Halo 2 multiplayer. The package includes round-trip air transportation to Seattle, Washington, hotel accommodation, roundtrip airport transfers, meals and a tour of Bungie Studios.

Xbox Live, was first launched in Europe on 14th March 2003, allows gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers worldwide via a broadband connection. With a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console is the only video game system built from the ground up for online gaming. Xbox Live enables gamers to easily find their friends; talk to other players during gameplay through the Xbox Communicator headset; download current statistics and new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive; and play online.

Pushing the Xbox hardware to its very limits, Halo 2 will expand on everything that made the original game great, plus add a wealth of technological and gameplay advances. Significantly improved graphics, enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), an advanced real-time lighting engine and destructible interactive environments are just a small part of Halo 2's evolution of design and technology. Every improvement in Halo 2 is designed to take gameplay to a new level - and in the end, to tell a more compelling story.

Utilising Xbox Live to redefine online play, Halo 2 delivers superior online multiplayer capabilities. Whether playing with a clan on a new multiplayer map, boarding a friend's Warthog, dog fighting in Banshees or checking player stats, Halo 2 will bring the social experience to a higher level via Xbox Live. More information about Halo 2 is available at (countries to delete as appropriate):

Austria http://www.xbox.com/de-at/halo2/backstage.htm

Denmark http://www.xbox.com/da-dk/halo2/backstage.htm

Finland http://www.xbox.com/fi-fi/halo2/backstage.htm

France http://www.xbox.com/fr-fr/halo2/backstage.htm

Germany http://www.xbox.com/de-de/halo2/backstage.htm

Switzerland http://www.xbox.com/de-ch/halo2/backstage.htm

United Kingdom http://www.xbox.com/en-gb/halo2/backstage.htm

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Editors' Notes

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Windows PC gaming, Xbox video game system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse game portfolios for the PC (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 "NFL Fever"; and Zone.com (http://www.zone.com/), the official games channel for the MSN® network and home to such hits as "Bejeweled" and "OutSmart?."

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live is the first comprehensive, online game service fully dedicated to fast action broadband gaming experiences. Xbox Live allows gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers everywhere via a broadband 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 so there's no need to buy additional peripherals.

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

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 new tagline, "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 Europe for an estimated street price of 149.99/£99.99.

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.

Bungie 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 the real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it produced games like the "Marathon Trilogy" and the first two "Myth" games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. "Halo: Combat Evolved," its latest game, has achieved phenomenal success on the Microsoft Xbox video game system. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net/.

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