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XBOX ANNOUNCES EUROPEAN XBOX LIVE™ COMPATIBILITY PROGRAMME AND PARTNERS

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

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Europe’s Leading Broadband Providers Will Team With Xbox,
Making It Easy For Gamers To Get Connected And Enjoy Live Gaming
LONDON, 5th March 2003 - Xbox today announced its European roll-out of the Xbox Live Compatibility Programme, partnering with 15 of Europe’s leading broadband providers to develop connectivity packages for gamers.

The world-wide programme is being introduced in each country prior to a retail launch, ensuring that gamers can find broadband packages that allow them to connect to Xbox Live quickly and intuitively and making it even easier to enjoy the fast-action, always-on broadband gaming experience that is Xbox Live. The new European members join 13 broadband providers 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.

Launching 14th March at retail in eight European countries, Xbox Live enables Xbox gamers with a 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.

Participating broadband providers will work with Xbox to ensure compatibility of their broadband service with Xbox Live. 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 as intuitive as possible. Members can display the Xbox Live compatibility logo on packaging and promotional materials, so gamers can be assured of a great Live experience.

The following broadband providers are the first members of the Xbox Live Compatibility Programme:
Belgium Belgacom; Telenet
France Wanadoo (previously announced at X02);
NOOS (previously announced at X02)
Germany An announcement on a major German partner will be made during CeBIT in Hannover, starting March 12th
Italy TELECOM ITALIA
Spain Telefonica; Auna
Sweden TeliaSonera; UPC/chello; B2 Bredband
The Netherlands KPN/Planet Internet; UPC/chello
UK Telewest Broadband; NTL; BT Openworld (all previously announced at X02)
“We’re very glad to have Europe’s leading broadband providers on board to help us make Xbox Live a reality for gamers,” said Robbie Bach. Chief Xbox Officer. “Xbox Live is broadband-agnostic, and Xbox Live will likely work with a gamer’s existing broadband service even if it’s not part of the programme. But gamers looking to get into Live gaming with the minimum of fuss can look to one of the special offers developed by the Compatibility Programme. Initiatives such as dedicated Live support and specially configured routers will enhance the enjoyment of Live gaming

“We’ll be looking to add more members to the Xbox Live Compatibility Programme in the coming months and when we launch Xbox Live in other European countries later this year,” said Cassius. “We’ve developed a phased approach enabling us to take the time to build strong relationships within the broadband industry. This is just the beginning, and we’ll be expanding these relationships and announcing new ones over the next five years.”

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.