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Prepare for Battle as Age of Empires III Goes Gold

Armies of the Third Age Prepare to March on October 18

September 23, 2005

Ready your troops! Age of Empires III, the stunning real-time strategy (RTS) landmark from Microsoft and Ensemble Studios, is complete and poised to invade retail on October 18. Available in two versions - standard and Collector's Edition - Age of Empires III will fire up gamers with groundbreaking new features like the persistent Home City and jaw-dropping graphics never before seen in an RTS. Gamers can now experience the game first-hand with a recently released playable demo that offers hours of exciting combat challenges, as well as the ability to upgrade the player's Home City.

The third game in the illustrious Age of Empires series that has sold more than 16 million copies and defined the historical RTS, Age of Empires III is being hailed by critics as a new benchmark for real-time strategy games. The minimum system requirements for Age of Empires III are: 1.4GHz processor, 256 MB RAM, 64 MB video card that supports hardware transform and lighting, Windows XP, 56k modem for online play, and 2GB hard drive space.

In Age of Empires III, players assume the role of a European power between 1500 and 1850 A.D. as they struggle to explore, colonize and conquer North and South America. Find out more about Age of Empires III by visiting http://www.ageofempires3.com.

Ensemble Studios (http://www.ensemblestudios.com) is one of the world's premier entertainment software developers. Ensemble Studios is known for its blockbuster Age of Empires and Age of Mythology game series. Ensemble's titles are distinguished by the highest-quality art and gameplay dynamics applied in familiar historical settings, and appeal to hard-core gamers and mass audiences. Ensemble Studios is based in Dallas, Texas.

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

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