Starting at Midnight the Worldwide Wait for "Halo 3" Ends

REDMOND, Wash.— Sept. 24, 2007— Starting tonight“Halo® 3,” the final chapter of Microsoft Corp.’s epic video game trilogy, finally goes on sale around the world. By the end of the week, fans in 37 countries will be playing the game Wired magazine recently called“a cultural touchstone, a Star Wars for the thumb stick generation.”

In the United States, more than 10,000 retailers across the country are opening their doors at midnight tonight solely to sell copies of the game and accompanying Xbox 360® consoles and accessories. With nary a pirate, a spider or a wand in sight, day-one sales of the highly anticipated video game are expected to shatter entertainment sales records and top the biggest entertainment launches of all time.

“The excitement and demand for‘Halo 3’ has transcended a typical video game release and we’re preparing dedicated registers for its midnight release in our 24-hour stores,” said Darin Dickson, video game merchandise buyer, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.“It’s clear that this is one of the most anticipated games of the year and that 12:01 am Sept. 25 will be a memorable moment for thousands of gamers.”

The conclusion of“Halo 2” left unanswered questions around the fates of the beloved protagonist Master Chief™ and his artificial intelligence sidekick Cortana® as they struggle to save humankind from destruction at the hands of the alien coalition known as the Covenant. The legions of dedicated fans lining the streets tonight are waiting for the chance to be among the first to own the coveted final chapter in the“Halo” trilogy and unearth the well-kept secrets of the storyline.

“Our customers have been waiting for‘Halo 3’ since the day after‘Halo 2’ launched in 2004,” said Jill Hamburger, vice president of movies and games at Best Buy.“‘Halo 3’ is going to bring the experience to new levels, and we are excited to help our customers get the best possible game playing experience.”

Developed by Bungie Studios, the“Halo” franchise is exclusive to the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system and optimized for the Xbox LIVE® online entertainment network. The more than 7 million Xbox LIVE users will get a continually evolving gaming experience with“Halo 3” and its online multiplayer and cooperative gameplay for Xbox LIVE Gold users, the much-talked-about Saved Films feature that enables players to capture and save their favorite moments on their hard drives, and Forge, an innovative map editor that enables infinite customization options.

“With‘Halo 3,’ Bungie Studios has further mastered the art of marrying fantastic gameplay with the intangibles that make the experience extraordinary for gamers, evoking incredible emotion through its story and character development,” said Shane Kim, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios.“That emotion is at the heart of what makes this more than a game and why‘Halo’ connects with its audience in the way other great stories like‘Star Wars’ resonated with theirs. But unlike the static experiences of a great film or novel,‘Halo 3’ offers a dynamic and social interactive entertainment experience that enables players to finish the fight themselves.”

Regional Marquee Events and Global Celebration

More than 10,000 retailers are planning events and opening their doors at midnight to celebrate this third installment in the billion-dollar franchise. In New York, Seattle, Miami and Los Angeles, Microsoft and retail partners are hosting marquee launch events that will feature contests and appearances by local celebrities and celebrities and professional athletes who are fanatical about the“Halo” franchise.

The marquee launch events will be held at the following stores:

• New York: Best Buy, 529 5th Ave, New York, N.Y. 10017

• Seattle: Best Buy, 457 120th Ave NE, Bellevue, Wash. 98005

• Los Angeles: GameStop, 1000 Universal Studios Blvd, Universal City, Calif. 91608

• Miami: Circuit City, 8575 Northwest 13th Terrace, Miami, Fla. 33126

A list of retail outlets opening at 12:01 a.m. can be found at http://www.xbox.com/unitetofight.

More than 1.5 million copies of“Halo 3” have been sold before a single store opens its doors at midnight, making this the fasting pre-selling game in history, surpassing the previous record-setting pre-sales of“Halo 2.” Well beyond just a U.S. phenomenon, the launch of“Halo 3” is a worldwide celebration that is releasing in 37 countries and available in 17 languages.

Made exclusively for Xbox 360,“Halo 3” will be made available in three versions: Standard Edition at $59.99 (U.S. ERP*), Limited Edition for $69.99 (U.S. ERP*), and the ultimate collector’s item, the Legendary Edition at $129.99 (U.S. ERP*). The Legendary Edition will be released in limited quantities and arrive in a highly collectible Spartan helmet case, along with two bonus discs full of exclusive content. The Limited Edition will ship in a sleek metal collector’s case and include the first bonus disc found in the Legendary Edition, as well as a special“Halo” fiction and art book. And for those who crave nothing more than the highly anticipated third chapter to one of the greatest gaming trilogies of all time, the Standard Edition will consist of the“Halo 3” game.

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 online gaming and entertainment network, with nearly 1 billion hours of online gaming logged to date.

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is a superior video game and entertainment system delivering the best games, unique entertainment features and a unified online gaming network that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 will have a portfolio of more than 300 games and will be available in nearly 40 countries by the end of 2007. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

About Xbox LIVE

Xbox LIVE is the first and most comprehensive unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox LIVE connects millions of members across 25 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox LIVE Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, TV shows and movies in the United States as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® and Xbox 360 video game systems, 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 and Xbox 360 ( http://www.xbox.com), including such games as“Gears of War” and franchises such as“Halo,”“Fable®,”“Project Gotham Racing®” and“Forza Motorsport®”; and MSN® Games ( http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as“Bejeweled” and“Hexic®.”

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 one 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 on Sept. 25, 2007. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net

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.

*Estimated retail price. Actual retail prices may vary.

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