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Xbox Live Offers New Levels, Features and Premium Retail Packs to Supercharge Online Gaming Experiences on Xbox 360 Removal of Credit Card Barrier Blows Open the Door to Thriving Online Games Service

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Microsoft Corp. today announced that the next generation of online multiplayer gaming service Xbox Live(R) will be available in North America on the Xbox 360(TM) video game and entertainment system starting this holiday. In addition to the free Xbox Live Silver membership available to every Xbox 360 owner, for only $49.99 (U.S.) or $79.99 (CDN)* gamers can amplify their gaming experience with a 12-month Xbox Live Gold membership. Gamers looking for a truly engaging and immersive online multiplayer experience can pick up one of the Xbox Live Premium Gold Packs, which include the new Xbox 360 Headset, Xbox Live Arcade games, Microsoft(R) Points for use in Xbox Live Marketplace, and mail-in rebates for up to $20 (U.S.) off any Xbox 360 game.

(Logo: NewsCom: )

Microsoft also today announced that credit cards will no longer be required to create an account on Xbox Live for Xbox 360, removing one of the biggest barriers to entry. Gamers can purchase 12-month Xbox Live subscription cards via cash or other payment methods at any participating retail store. Subscriptions will also be available for purchase by credit card in one-month, three-month and 12-month increments through the Xbox Live Dashboard.

The next generation of Xbox Live will be offered to gamers through two levels of service. Xbox Live Silver is a free level of the service offered to all who own an Xbox 360 system, a high-speed Internet connection, and a memory unit or a hard drive. The Xbox Live Gold membership delivers the full Xbox Live premium online experience annually for $49.99 (U.S.)/$79.99 (CDN),* which averages to a little more than $4 a month (U.S.). The Xbox Live offers include the following:

   Xbox Live Silver         This allows members to connect to the online
         membership         community and create their own digital identity
                            with an Xbox Live gamertag and personalized
                            Gamer Profile. Xbox Live Silver members will be
                            able to send and receive text and voice messages
                            and join their friends on Xbox Live. Xbox Live
                            Marketplace is the one-stop download center for
                            additional game-related content like free
                            trailers and demos as well as content that adds
                            more to games, such as new levels, characters
                            and weapons. Gamers can also purchase and
                            download fun, casual and highly addictive Xbox
                            Live Arcade games directly to their Xbox 360
                            system (additional fees may apply; hard drive or
                            memory unit required for downloads).
                            Price: free

   Xbox Live Gold           This includes all Xbox Live Silver-level
       membership           features and access to premium multiplayer
                            experiences exclusive to Xbox Live Gold members.
                            This includes online multiplayer gaming,
                            enhanced matchmaking and feedback tools, along
                            with exclusive privileges and rewards on Xbox
                            Live Marketplace.

   Subscription            One Month      Three Months           12 Months

   Xbox Live Premium          N/A       - All Gold-level    - All Gold-level
   Gold Pack (available                    features           features
   at retail locations)                 - "Joust"          - "Bankshot
                                           (Xbox Live         Billiards(TM)"
                                           Arcade game)       (Xbox Live
                                        - Xbox 360            Arcade game)
                                           Headset         - Xbox 360
                                        - $10 (U.S.)         Headset
                                           mail-in game    - $20 (U.S.)
                                           rebate coupon     mail-in game
                                           good for any      rebate coupon
                                           Xbox 360 game     good for any
                                           title             Xbox 360 game
                                        - 100 Microsoft      title
                                           Points for use  - 200 Microsoft
                                           on Xbox Live       Points for use
                                           Marketplace        on Xbox Live
                                        - Price: $39.99       Marketplace
                                          (U.S.)*          - Price: $69.99

   Subscription cards      Price:         Price:             Price:
   at retail, available    $7.99 (U.S.)   $19.99 (U.S.)      $49.99 (U.S.)
   through Xbox            $8.99 (CDN)    $24.99 (CDN)       $59.99 (CDN)
   Live Dashboard
   (via credit card)

"Xbox Live on Xbox 360 gives each and every player the opportunity to become a member of the world's largest online gaming community," said Peter Moore, corporate vice president of Worldwide Marketing and Publishing for the Home Entertainment Division at Microsoft. "With a choice of service level and multiple offerings, gamers everywhere will get the most out of their games by experiencing breakthrough features on the most innovative video-game and entertainment system to date. We're excited to offer our existing 2 million members this supercharged online experience at the same retail price, as well as introduce new users to the next generation in online gaming and entertainment."

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live continues to transform and unite Xbox(R) game communities worldwide, with a presence in 24 countries worldwide and a global community of more than 2 million members. As the first and only global, unified online console games service, Xbox Live offers world-class games, intelligent matchmaking, tournaments, unique programming and integration with More information can be found online at .

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming service, and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around you. The system will launch this holiday season in Europe, Japan and North America, to be followed by availability in Australia, Colombia, Hong Kong, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan in 2006. More information can be found online at .

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Prices are estimated retail prices. Actual retail prices may vary.

NOTE: Microsoft, Xbox Live, Xbox 360, Bankshot Billiards and Xbox are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

CONTACT: Carrie Morris, +1-206-223-1606, or, or Amanda Taggart, +1-323-202-1071, or, Both of Edelman, for Microsoft Corporation

Web site:

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COPYRIGHT 2005 Gale Group

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