London, 10th June, 2005 - After hard-fought battles online and thousands of rounds of virtual ammunition, the final stages of the world's first global Xbox Live "Halo 2" tournament are fast approaching. Finalists from Xbox Live's 24 regions can get details about bracketing as well as information about their opponents via http://www.xbox.com/halo2/tournament.htm, a newly launched web site which will function as a clearinghouse for tournament specifics and match-ups throughout the final rounds of play. The Xbox Live "Halo 2" World finals will be played entirely online via Xbox Live.
The global championship rounds will be played today, Friday, 10th June in double elimination rounds. The 24 regional winners will be sectioned into four pools of six players each. The top three will move on to the next round, while the bottom three from each group will move into a elimination bracket; once a regional champion loses twice, they are eliminated. Each round will last 10 minutes. The final matches will be played on the new "Halo 2" map, Warlock. Local start times for the final rounds will be based on Greenwich Mean Time.
"Halo 2" is one of the highest rated and top selling video games of all time, with more than 6.7 million copies sold worldwide since November 2004. As Xbox Live continues to redefine online gaming, "Halo 2" features superior online multiplayer capabilities, evidenced by the fact that Xbox Live gamers have logged a record-breaking 240 million hours playing "Halo 2" since its launch. To date, more than two million unique users have played "Halo 2" online on Xbox Live.
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b>About Xbox Live
Now in its third generation of transforming and uniting Xbox game communities, with more than 300 games planned by end of holiday 2005 and now with presence in 24 countries worldwide, Xbox Live has set the bar for online games entertainment. As the first global, unified online console games service, Xbox Live continues to take online gameplay and entertainment to unprecedented heights. With a rapidly growing global community, Xbox Live offers best-in-class games, intelligent matchmaking, tournaments, unique programming and integration with Xbox.com - there is simply nothing else like it. The service continues to provide more and more ways for members to meet, interact and stay engaged with each other.
b>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."
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.
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UK PR Manager - Xbox & Games
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