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Microsoft launches Halo 2 preview contest for Live users

A new competition has been launched by Microsoft which will give Xbox Live users worldwide a chance to win a "backstage pass" to see Halo 2 before the game's official release in November of this year.

The company has today confirmed that half of the twenty places offered as prizes in the competition will go to European gamers, with winners being chosen from among customers in the UK, France, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Austria and Switzerland.

The prize for the competition is a three day (two night) trip to developer Bungie's studios in Redmond, Seattle, to play the multiplayer version of the game - including transport, hotel accommodation, meals and a tour of the Bungie offices.

In order to be eligible for the contest, players must have a valid Xbox Live account as of the 15th of October, with winners being drawn at random from the Xbox Live subscriber base on the 22nd of October.

Halo 2, the sequel to the best-selling game on the Xbox - and one of the best-selling games of the past few years - will arrive on store shelves on the 11th of November, and for now, is exclusive to the Xbox, with no mention of PC or Mac versions of the game as yet.

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Rob Fahey: Rob Fahey is a former editor of who spent several years living in Japan and probably still has a mint condition Dreamcast Samba de Amigo set.