NEWS - Monday, September 15, 2003


Christmas in October!

Gamers, gift givers, adrenaline fanatics and entertainment enthusiasts throughout North America are in video game nirvana today as Microsoft Corp. unveiled plans for a special Xbox® holiday offer. The specially priced promotion, available at some retailers as early as Sept. 17, features the powerful Microsoft® Xbox console, a two-month trial subscription to the highly acclaimed Xbox Live™ service, the blockbuster game "Star Wars®: The Clone Wars™" from LucasArts and THQ Inc.’s "Tetris® Worlds™ Live," an enhanced version of the perennial favorite optimized for online play. With a torrent of new action-packed titles, a flood of innovative new features, and the surging popularity of the unified Xbox Live online gaming service, Xbox already has claimed the top spot on many wish lists this year. Approximately 400 games will be available by the holiday season, satiating gamers of all skill levels and interests. Breakthroughs such as Music Mixer and XSN Sports titles further expand the appeal of Xbox, while the console’s built-in Ethernet port means gamers can plug into the 500,000-member-strong Xbox Live community. "By offering Xbox with two super-premium games and a trial Xbox Live subscription, we’re giving consumers an easy and affordable way to bring the complete Xbox entertainment experience into their homes this holiday," said Mitch Koch, vice president, retail sales and marketing for the home and entertainment division at Microsoft. "There’s never been a better time to buy Xbox." Retailers are bracing for a deluge of Xbox demand fueled by today’s announcement, stocking up for what promises to be the busiest holiday season yet for the games industry. Recent studies from the Entertainment Software Association indicate that video games have burst onto the pop culture scene with fervor, attracting new legions of digital entertainment fanatics. "When Xbox came out two seasons ago, we experienced heightened sales to the hard-core gamers," said Pete Roithmayr, vice president of merchandising for EB Games. "This year, due to the impressive lineup of new releases and the added value of the Xbox holiday offer, we’re expecting that Xbox will appeal to a much broader, mass-market consumer audience." Offer Features Premium Games With wrapping paper off and Xbox plugged in, families can immediately jump into two exhilarating titles shipping with the offer. The first, "Star Wars: The Clone Wars" by LucasArts, is a high-intensity adventure incorporating popular characters, vehicles and settings from "Star Wars: Episode II." Players can change vehicles during battle and pilot an array of units from the arsenal of the Republic, including a speeder bike, AT-SX assault walker, fighter tank and Republic gunship. The second game, "Tetris Worlds Live" by THQ, takes everything gamers love about the addictive puzzle game "Tetris" and enhances it with beautiful 3-D graphics and all-new game elements, including online play. Tapping into Xbox Live, "Tetris" fans can test their block-dropping skills against other players all over the world. The "Tetris Worlds Live" community will be constantly updated so players will be able to view their online ranking. Xbox Live Trial Makes Online Play a Snap The holiday offer includes a two-month trial subscription to Xbox Live so new owners can join the throngs of gamers playing on Xbox Live right away. And because Xbox has a built-in Ethernet port and was engineered from the very start for online play, no bulky adapters are needed. The trial grants gamers full membership privileges on the unified Xbox Live service, meaning one Gamertag (network identity) works across all Xbox Live games and makes it easy to find friends online. New Live-enabled titles such as "Project Gotham Racing® 2," "Counter-Strike," "Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3" and "XIII" bring the number of online games to 50, making Xbox Live the most engaging online gaming service available. Holiday Offer Available in One Box Oct. 15 For early-bird holiday shoppers anxious to get a jump on this special promotion, many official Xbox retailers will offer the holiday pricing as early as Sept. 17. (Free games and trial offers will simply be provided at checkout.) The console, games and trial Xbox Live offer will be packaged conveniently into one box starting Oct. 15.
Source: http://www.xbox.com

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