'Halo 3' Becomes Fastest-Selling Pre-Ordered Video Game in History, Soaring Past 1 Million Milestone Blockbuster consumer brands including 7-Eleven, Burger King Corp., Comcast,

Mountain Dew and Pontiac unveil unprecedented support for the launch of

this year's biggest entertainment event.



    REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- As the countdown
 continues for the entertainment event of the year -- the launch of "Halo(R)
 3" -- the video game continues to set records and establish new precedents
 for an entertainment launch. Today, Microsoft Corp. announced that
 preorders in North America for the exclusive Xbox 360(TM) title have
 exceeded the 1 million milestone. In addition, Microsoft unveiled the first
 exciting details of upcoming promotions from leading consumer brands,
 including Mountain Dew, 7-Eleven, Pontiac, Comcast and Burger King Corp.
     (Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000822/MSFTLOGO )
     In a strategy utilized in other big entertainment launches, retailers
 around the world have begun taking preorders, enabling consumers to order
 one of the three versions of "Halo 3": Standard Edition, Limited Edition
 and the ultra-collectible Legendary Edition. In fact, demand has been so
 strong for the Legendary Edition of the game that it is expected to be sold
 out by the time the game launches on Sept. 25. Retailers have also noted
 that the presales for "Halo 3" are the fastest in video game history.
     "What we've experienced is nothing short of phenomenal," said Bob
 McKenzie, senior vice president of merchandising at GameStop Corp. "'Halo
 3' has eclipsed many previous records and will prove to be one of the
 must-have items of 2007."
     "The excitement for 'Halo 3' is incredible," said Jill Hamburger, vice
 president of movies and games at Best Buy. "From our preorders online and
 the buzz we're hearing in our stores, we know this release is going to be
 one of the biggest entertainment events of the year. We're thrilled to be
 able to bring it to our customers."
     For the first time in video game history and on par with the scope of
 major movie releases, some of the world's biggest consumer brands have
 aligned to support the launch. Many plan to offer a variety of promotions
 that give consumers the opportunity to obtain unique "Halo 3"-branded
 products and prizes and participate in one-of-a-kind "Halo 3"-themed
 events.
     "This September, 'Halo 3' will push video game entertainment into the
 forefront of mainstream culture," said Chris Di Cesare, director of
 creative marketing at Microsoft. "Teaming up with some of the world's
 strongest and most recognizable brands is trailblazing new paths and
 cementing video games as big entertainment on par with major event films,
 and is a testament to the excitement and anticipation intrinsically linked
 to 'Halo 3.'"
     Mountain Dew will unveil the first beverage co-branded with a video
 game, Mountain Dew Game Fuel. Game Fuel has the same great taste of
 Mountain Dew with an invigorating blast of citrus cherry flavor and added
 caffeine for maximum intensity. Game Fuel will come in 20-ounce bottles,
 2-liter bottles and 12-packs of 12-ounce cans and will be available
 nationwide for a limited time starting Aug. 13, 2007.
     7-Eleven today confirmed its plans to support the launch of "Halo 3"
 through a variety of in-store promotions, including three "Halo 3"-branded
 collectible Slurpee cups. In addition, 7-Eleven will run a "Halo 3"
 promotion with Mountain Dew Game Fuel and Doritos, with thousands of "Halo
 3"-themed prizes, including, as grand prize, a chance to win a role as a
 voice actor in the upcoming Xbox 360 video game, "Halo Wars(TM)," by
 Ensemble Studios. In a few select markets, Mountain Dew will offer a
 special-edition aluminum bottle of Mountain Dew Game Fuel with an exclusive
 design created by Bungie Studios, the developers of "Halo 3." This bottle
 will be available in very limited quantities, making it a highly
 sought-after collector's item.
     Pontiac will provide consumers with several exclusive "Halo 3"-related
 opportunities. It will host Pontiac Gamers Garage events in select
 locations, providing consumers with a chance to play the game for the first
 time before its release. In addition, in support of the launch of its
 upcoming high-performance G6 GXP Street, Pontiac will provide 1,000
 consumers with a copy of the game, and one lucky gamer will win a
 limited-edition "Halo 3" G6 GXP Street car.
     Burger King Corp. will continue its sponsorship of Xbox 360 with
 national, in-restaurant support from Sept. 24 through Oct. 22. "Halo
 3"-themed packaging will offer customers access to exclusive content by
 logging on to http://www.bk.com/halo3 beginning Sept. 23. Graphics will be
 featured on select packaging, including the 42-ounce cup and King
 FRYPOD(TM).
     Comcast has also joined the "Halo 3" campaign and will host exclusive
 video content, including user-generated movies and machinima, on its Web
 sites http://gameinvasion.net and http://www.ziddio.com. Comcast will also
 feature standard- and high-definition "Halo 3" videos on its signature ON
 DEMAND service.
     "Halo 3" is also the official sponsor of the Projekt Revolution tour
 this summer, which includes bands Linkin Park and My Chemical Romance.
 Exclusive "Halo 3" VIP events will take place in select cities on the tour,
 where attendees will receive "Halo 3"-themed merchandise and have an
 opportunity to meet the members of Linkin Park.
     More About Halo
     "Halo 3," the final chapter in the groundbreaking "Halo" trilogy, is
 set to shatter day-one entertainment sales records when it is released
 worldwide beginning Tuesday, Sept. 25. Created by legendary developer
 Bungie Studios and exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment
 system, "Halo 3" will set a new standard for interactive storytelling and
 social gaming by engaging consumers worldwide in the epic battle of Master
 Chief(TM) to save humankind.
     In November 2004, the world's view of video games changed forever with
 the release of "Halo 2," which generated a record-setting $125 million
 (U.S.) in sales within the first 24 hours and changed the way people think
 about interactive entertainment. Three years later, it remains the
 most-played game on Microsoft's Xbox LIVE(R) online gaming and
 entertainment network, with nearly 1 billion hours of online gaming logged
 to date.
     About Bungie Studios
     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. Bungie's "Halo" franchise
 is an international award-winning action title that has grown into a global
 entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.8 million units worldwide,
 logging nearly 1 billion hours of multiplayer action on Xbox LIVE, and
 spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel and more. Bungie
 is currently at work on "Halo 3," which represents the third chapter in
 this "Halo" trilogy and is slated for release in 2007. More information on
 Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net.
     About Microsoft Game Studios
     Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer
 of games for the Xbox(R) and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows(R)
 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(R)," "Flight Simulator" and "Zoo Tycoon(R)";
 Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as "Gears of
 War" and franchises such as "Halo," "Fable(R)," "Project Gotham Racing(R)"
 and "Forza Motorsport(R)"; and MSN(R) Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the
 official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as
 "Bejeweled" and "Hexic(R)."
     About Microsoft
     Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq:   MSFT) is the worldwide leader in
 software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize
 their full potential.
 
 

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.
RELATED LINKS
http://www.microsoft.com

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