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XBOX ANNOUNCES UK XBOX LIVE™ COMPATIBILITY PROGRAMME PARTNERS

Tags: Xbox, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Xbox

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BT OpenWorld, NTL and Telewest Broadband Will Team With Xbox, Making It Easy For Gamers To Get Connected And Enjoy Live Gaming

London, 5th March 2003 - Xbox today announced that BT Openworld, NTL and Telewest Broadband are among the first members of the Xbox Live Compatibility Programme and will work with Xbox to develop broadband connectivity packages for gamers. The programme ensures that gamers have a choice of access packages that let them connect quickly and intuitively to Xbox Live, making it even easier to enjoy fast-action, always-on Live gaming.

Launching 14th March, Xbox Live enables Xbox gamers with any broadband connection to find their friends easily; talk to other players during game play through the Xbox Communicator headset; download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive; and play online.

While Xbox Live is designed to work well with most broadband Internet services, the “Xbox Compatible” service providers are working with Microsoft to help ensure a great user experience on Xbox Live for customers. Programme members will also be developing connectivity packages and co-marketing initiatives with Xbox, working to ensure that connecting to and playing Xbox Live is quick, simple and hassle-free.

BT Openworld, NTL and Telewest Broadband join 15 broadband providers from Europe, 13 from North America and six from Japan in the Compatibility Programme. Xbox is committed to continuing the development of broadband partnerships around the world for Xbox Live and plans to add more members to the Xbox Live Compatibility Programme over the coming months.

“We are delighted to welcome BT Openworld, NTL and Telewest Broadband as members of the Xbox Live Compatibility Programme,” said Chris Lewis, Director of Home and Entertainment Division. “We’re working very closely with these, the UK leaders in broadband. The offers that BT Openworld, NTL and Telewest Broadband have developed will enable UK gamers to quickly and easily get up and running on Xbox Live.”

BT Openworld
Duncan Ingram, managing director at BT Openworld, said: "It¹s fantastic to be involved with Xbox Live in the UK. Online gaming over broadband is a high-voltage experience. It allows real-time gameplay with opponents around the world, with graphic quality second to none. Enhanced content will drive broadband uptake, so partnering with Xbox Live is a key move for us."

NTL
"We are very excited to be part of Xbox Live in the UK," said Bill Goodland NTL Director of Internet. "Gaming is a key driver for broadband uptake and we welcome the potential that Xbox Live brings to the market. NTL broadband customers will have a great experience on Xbox Live with a quick and easy installation process, no expensive initial outlay and fast action game play."

Telewest Broadband
Gavin Patterson, managing director of Telewest Broadband, said: "Broadband's been crying out for a new entertainment partner with mass appeal and Xbox Live and blueyonder broadband go together like Bonnie and Clyde. Combining high-speed internet access with console gaming is a recipe for high-octane thrills which will change the way games are played forever."

About Xbox Live
XboxÔ LiveÔ is the first comprehensive, online game service fully dedicated to fast­action broadband gaming experiences. Xbox Live will allow gamers to play multiplayer Xbox games with other gamers everywhere via a broadband Internet connection. With a built­in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console was built from the ground up to be an online gaming system so there's no need to buy additional peripherals.

Xbox Live will enable all gamers to find and play with their friends easily; talk to other players during game play through the Xbox Communicator headset; and download current statistics, new levels and characters to their Xbox hard drive.

About Xbox
Xbox (http://www.xbox.com/) is Microsoft’s future-generation video game system that delivers never before seen gameplay experiences. With more than three times the graphics performance of other game consoles, top-quality DVD playback, Dolby 5.1 surround sound to make games and movies come alive, and a hard disc that opens up new kinds of gameplay, Xbox is the video game system that delivers more of what gamers want. Xbox is now available in Europe for an estimated street price of €249.99/£159.99.

About Microsoft Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.