Men Need 'Me Time' Too: MSN Games Survey Reveals Male Gamers Have a Softer Side Downtime and stress reduction among reasons men engage in 'casual' gameplay.

    REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- According to a recent survey* commissioned by Microsoft Corp.'s (Nasdaq:   MSFT) MSN(R) Games, one of the world's leading casual gaming sites, Americans are feeling more stressed out and starved for time than ever, with 56 percent of men (age 18 to 34) and 71 percent of women (age 18 to 34) spending less than an hour on themselves a day engaged in activities that provide downtime or alone time and are pampering or relaxing to them.     (Logo: )     Once considered a simple leisure pursuit, playing casual games -- including action and arcade, puzzle, word and trivia, and card and board games -- is among the activities men and women said they like to engage in when they have just 20 minutes to "recharge" during the day.     Although stress reduction and mental dexterity are often cited as reasons people of all ages play casual online games, males in the 18 to 34 age bracket are most likely to list playing games as a daily escape -- a chance to indulge in some "me time." Men are also more likely than their female counterparts to play a game at work, with males age 18 to 34 most likely to sneak in a quick game during their day.     With many people indicating they have a mere 60 minutes a day to spend on relaxing activities, it is no wonder U.S. men and women are seeking easy, quick stress-reduction techniques. As a result, MSN Games has teamed up with Dr. Kathleen Hall, world-renowned expert in stress and work-life balance and founder of the Stress Institute, to urge Americans to resolve to "Take Back Your Time" this year and engage in activities that help reduce stress and give the brain a boost.     "Reclaiming just 10 minutes of 'me time' each day can greatly improve your sense of well-being," Dr. Hall said. "Stress can have a catastrophic effect on our mental, physical and spiritual health. In today's harried and hectic world, taking time out for stress-reducing activities is no longer a luxury, but a 21st-century necessity."     More than 13 million people each month play "brain food" games on MSN Games, such as the numeric logic game "Sudoku," virtual aquarium "Fish Tycoon," gem-swapper "Bejeweled 2" and the family favorite card game "UNO."     "There is a growing body of medical research that shows stress can cause the memory to become impaired," Dr. Hall said. "But playing online casual games, such as brainteasers, crossword puzzles, trivia titles, and any variety of mentally challenging and fun games, can actually stimulate the brain and stimulate new connections between cells."     The MSN Games survey found that nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults who have played a quick, fun online game in the past 12 months say they feel less stressed afterward, indicating that arcade-style games are an excellent destination on the road to wellness.     "We know that 'play' de-stresses the body and actually lowers our blood pressure and heart rate. Taking a break to solve a brain-teasing puzzle or take on a fun vocabulary challenge on MSN Games is a perfect way to clear your mind of the clutter and stress that can pile up during the day," Dr. Hall said.     For more information on the latest in arcade-style gaming or to find stress-reducing solutions, casual gamers can take back their time at     About Microsoft Casual Games     One of the longest-standing leaders in the casual games space, Microsoft Casual Games (MCG) connects players and their friends with quick, accessible and engaging games anytime, anywhere. Reaching more than 125 million global game players each month, MCG is dedicated to providing an entertaining, rewarding gameplay experience through a diverse portfolio of widely appealing titles that range from favorite card and board games to the latest action and adventure titles, from brain-teasing trivia to quick-thinking puzzle games. The only games provider able to deliver games on multiple high-performance game platforms -- MSN Games, Messenger Games, Windows(R) Games and Xbox Live(R) Arcade -- MCG remains committed to creating the most robust collection of casual titles available.     About Dr. Kathleen Hall     Dr. Kathleen Hall, internationally recognized stress and work-life balance expert, is the founder and director of The Stress Institute. She has been featured on all major television networks including NBC's Today Show, CNN and FOX, as well as other media outlets such as USA Today, Fortune, Redbook, Good Morning America Radio, Martha Stewart Living Radio and Author of A Life in Balance: Nourishing the Four Roots of True Happiness (AMACOM, January 2006) and Alter Your Life: Overbooked? Overworked? Overwhelmed? (Oak Haven, April 2005), she offers simple methods for reducing stress and living a balanced life of true happiness. For more information about Dr. Hall, and The Stress Institute, please visit     About Microsoft     Founded in 1975, Microsoft is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.     *Conducted by Harris Interactive Inc. This MSN Games survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuery online omnibus service on behalf of MSN Games from Sept. 14 to 18, 2006, among 2,932 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for region, age within gender, education, household income, race/ethnicity and amount of time spent online per week were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. With a pure probability sample of 2,932, one could say with a 95 percent probability that the overall results would have a sampling error of +/- 3 percentage points. Sampling error for data based on sub-samples would be higher and may vary. However, that does not take other sources of error into account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.     Microsoft, Xbox, MSN, Windows and Xbox Live 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.  

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