NEWS - Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Xbox Live Rocks on at X03

At tonight’s X03 event in Antibes, Xbox® announced new European details for its Xbox® Live™ service, the only fast-action, always-on broadband gaming service where gamers can simultaneously play, talk and build their legend across games and around the world. New Xbox Live-enabled countries, flexible pricing options, a trial offer for Europe, and some amazing games mean that European Xbox gamers will have a lot to look forward to this Christmas and beyond. Xbox Live Launches In Six More Countries
Xbox Live will launch at retail on 30th October in six more European countries: Austria; Denmark; Finland; Ireland; Norway; and Switzerland. This takes the total of Xbox Live-enabled European countries to 14, offering more European gamers the chance to play console games online than any other console platform. Xbox is working with broadband partners in each country to provide offers for their customers over the coming months. Microsoft is committed to continuing the development of broadband partnerships in Europe for Xbox and plans to make additional announcements regarding the six new launch countries in coming weeks. “We’re excited to bring Xbox Live to even more European gamers, opening up the thriving European Xbox Live community to six new countries,” said Michel Cassius, senior director, Xbox platform and marketing. “We already have a global Xbox Live community of more than 500,000 gamers and now even more gamers can enjoy great social gaming experiences with Xbox Live, creating their legends and battling across a wide variety of fantastic games.” New Xbox Live Pricing Options New pricing options for Xbox Live in Europe were announced, combining value with greater flexibility to best suit gamers’ needs. Beginning December 2003 for trial-offer gamers and March 2004 for existing Xbox Live subscribers, Xbox Live annual subscriptions can be renewed for £39.99/€59.99 so gamers don’t miss out on a moment of Xbox Live gaming. Alternatively, gamers can choose a monthly pricing plan at £4.99/€6.99 per month after their initial one-year subscription expires, allowing them all the benefits of Xbox Live on an easy-to-manage monthly basis. Subscriptions can be renewed right from the Xbox Live Dashboard, giving gamers even more choice and convenience with their Xbox Live subscriptions. “We listened to our customers, and they told us they wanted flexibility when it came to renewing their Live subscriptions,” said Cassius. “We have introduced pricing options that will appeal to the wide variety of Xbox Live gamers – those who wish to manage their Live subscriptions on a monthly basis and those who prefer to renew on an annual basis. Either way, Xbox Live continues to provide extraordinary value as well as outstanding gaming experiences.” Xbox Live Trial Offer For a limited time, special Xbox Live trial offer vouchers will be included within selected Xbox Live-enabled games from October, offering two free months of Xbox Live gaming with no obligation. Games include:
  • Amped 2 (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Crimson Skies (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Dancing Stage Unleashed (Konami)
  • Links (Microsoft Games Studio)
  • Magic: The Gathering (Atari)
  • Project Gotham Racing 2 (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • TOCA Race Driver (Codemasters)
  • Sega GT Online (Sega).
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy (Activision)
  • Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six 3 (Ubi Soft)
  • Top Spin (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Xbox Music Mixer (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • XIII (Ubi Soft)
Gamers with an Xbox and a broadband connection simply sign up to Xbox Live using the included subscription code, the Xbox Live game they bought, and a credit card (for security/authentication purposes) and they can start playing any Xbox Live game immediately. For convenience’s sake, after two months gamers will be charged the Xbox Live monthly subscription rate of £4.99/€6.99 (or an annual subscription at £39.99/€59.99 if they so choose) unless cancelled by the gamer. Gamers will be notified by email before their trial membership is up, allowing them to cancel before any charges are made. The offer is valid until 31st March 2004. “Trial opportunities are key to broadening the Xbox Live community,” said Cassius. “Our research shows that once gamers try Live, they find it hard to go back to competing against the computer. The trial offer provides an easy way to experience the Xbox Live community with no obligations.” Xbox Live Communicator Now Available Separately From 17th October the Xbox Live Communicator will be offered separately from the Starter Kit, for an estimated street price of £19.99/€29.99 – great for gamers who need to replace their Communicator or for trial offer participants, who can purchase a Communicator to get the most out of Xbox Live during their trial period and beyond. The Communicator headset is integrated with all Xbox Live multiplayer games and enables voice interaction with team-mates and opponents, voice masking, global muting and parental control. The Xbox Live Starter Kit will continue to include a free Xbox Communicator headset as well as a twelve-month Xbox Live subscription and special Live-enabled demo versions of MotoGP and MechAssault. The Xbox Live Starter Kit is available at retail for an estimated street price of £39.99/€59.99. Inaugural Xbox Live Clash of the Continents The Inaugural Xbox Live Clash of the Continents, held tomorrow morning at X03, will let the trash talkers put their money where their mouths are. Ten ace Xbox Live veterans, one from each European Xbox Live country plus the US and Canada, will compete for ultimate bragging rights, playing Rainbow Six 3 before it’s released from Ubi Soft to decide the ultimate Xbox Live champion. The winner will receive, as well as their trip to X03, a year’s supply of games from Microsoft Game Studios, a copy of Rainbow Six 3, and a trophy. Xbox Live Games Fifty Live-enabled Xbox games will be available at retail by the end of this calendar year and 100 by the end of June 2004. A host of Xbox Live-enabled games were shown or announced at X03, including:
  • Crimson Skies (Microsoft Games Studio)
  • Dancing Stage Unleashed (Konami)
  • Dead or Alive Online (Tecmo)
  • Halo 2 (Bungie/Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Ninja Gaiden (Tecmo)
  • Project Gotham Racing 2 (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Race Driver 2: The Ultimate Racing Simulator (Codemasters)
  • Rainbow Six 3 (Ubi Soft)
  • RalliSport Challenge 2 (Microsoft Game Studios)
  • Steel Battalion – Line of Contact (Capcom)
  • Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow (Ubi Soft)
  • XIII (Ubi Soft)
“The Xbox Live games lineup at X03 is amazing, and it’s just the beginning,” said Cassius. “With a wealth of online games offering more gaming experiences to a broadening audience and franchises like Halo, Project Gotham Racing and Splinter Cell on Xbox, gamers’ choices are getting easier all the time.” Xbox Live – New Features Xbox constantly works to take Xbox Live to even greater heights by adding new features that deliver fantastic social gaming experiences. Some new features on the horizon include:
  • Live Alerts: Get a game invite on your PDA, cell phone, or PC with instant messengers – something exclusive to Xbox Live.
  • Live Web – Live stats and friends lists will be available to view through a new Xbox site that links to the service.
  • Live Aware Games – More games will let you be “logged on” while playing, even if playing single player so you can receive invites, and keep up with what your friends are playing.
  • Live Now – This is the place where gamers meet and use voice chat to begin their gaming experience. Decide which game to play, how to team up, and wrap up after the game. In addition, there will be expanded real-time information about who is online, your rankings, messages from other gamers and events in the Live community.
  • Teams and Competitions – XSN Sports games let you compete in the first truly virtual sports league for your Xbox. Now you can easily set up a league on, take out your rival over Xbox Live, and track up-to-date stats on your PC throughout the season. All XSN Sports games bring the power of the Xbox and PC together for the first time through, so you are always plugged into the competition. XSN Sports games available this autumn include Amped 2 and NFL Fever 2004.



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