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BLIZZARD ENTERTAINMENT

Blizzard Entertainment® is a premier publisher of entertainment software. Since establishing the Blizzard label in 1994, the company has quickly become one of the most popular and well-respected makers of computer games.

With blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft® and the Warcraft®, Diablo®, and StarCraft® series, the company has enjoyed back-to-back number-one selling games, as well as consecutive Game of the Year awards. The company?s free online game service, Battle.net®, is the largest in the world with millions of active users.

The company?s most recent release was World of Warcraft®, the massively multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG) based on the award-winning Warcraft series. It launched on November 23, 2004 in North America, Australia, and New Zealand, and promptly shattered all sales records for a PC title, as well as setting records for account creation and peak concurrency for an online game. It became the fastest PC title to sell over 240,000 units, with the biggest day one sell through in PC history. With a current subscriber base of more than 900,000 players and peak concurrency of over 250,000 users, World of Warcraft is now the biggest online game in North America.

Within a few months of launching in North America, World of Warcraft also launched in Korea and Europe with equal success. On January 18, 2005, World of Warcraft released in Korea, and in just one day achieved peak concurrency of over 100,000 players. World of Warcraft then launched in Europe on February 11, 2005, to even greater success than in North America. In its first day alone, World of Warcraft sold through over 280,000 copies. Today, Europe has over 500,000 active subscribers and more than 200,000 peak concurrency. Worldwide, World of Warcraft enjoys a total subscriber population of over 1.6 million players and has peak concurrency of more than 550,000. With the highly successful Open Beta underway in China and scheduled for deployment soon in Taiwan, World of Warcraft is just months away from officially expanding its presence into even more parts of Asia.

Prior to World of Warcraft, Blizzard released Warcraft® III: The Frozen Throne™ in 2003. This highly anticipated expansion pack to Warcraft® III: Reign of Chaos™ was hailed as a "terrific, full-featured expansion for Warcraft III that makes an already outstanding game significantly more so."**

Upon release, Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos was "the fastest selling PC game ever"* and has won several accolades since the game shipped to retail outlets in July of 2002. The original Warcraft®: Orcs and Humans™ was touted as one of the best strategy games of 1994; and the game?s epic sequel, Warcraft® II: Tides of Darkness™, has won many accolades including Game of the Year and Best Multiplayer Game.

In 2001, Blizzard released Diablo® II: Lord of Destruction™, the expansion set for 2000?s record-setting bestseller Diablo II. Selling over a million copies in its first month of release, Lord of Destruction has been called "the definitive add-on,"* and was one of the biggest sellers of 2001.The original Diablo®, which released January 1997, debuted at number one in the United States and was named Game of the Year.

StarCraft®, which released in March 1998, was the company?s third number-one selling game and was named the best-selling game of 1998 by PC Data. The game?s expansion set, StarCraft®: Brood War™ was widely acclaimed and was named best expansion of 1998. The announcement of StarCraft: Ghost™ further expands the StarCraft storyline, and takes Blizzard back to its console roots. The game offers an in-depth perspective on familiar planets and former battlefields from the legendary universe. Also, as the story unravels, players find themselves traversing uncharted terrain and battling adversaries never before seen by followers of the series. The game is currently under development for the Xbox™, Gamecube™ and Playstation 2® and a release window will be announced in the months ahead.

Prior to the release of Warcraft, the company served as a third-party developer creating entertainment software for a variety of platforms including DOS, Macintosh, Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. Some of the company?s best-known titles include Rock ?n Roll Racing, The Lost Vikings, Blackthorne, and The Death and Return of Superman.

The Blizzard research and development group is comprised of more than 250 designers, producers, programmers, artists, and sound engineers. Each member of the Blizzard staff is a true game enthusiast, which provides the company invaluable insight to creating products for the gaming industry.

In March 1996, Blizzard acquired Blizzard North, a concentrated team of developers specializing in high-quality entertainment products for computer and home console systems. Located in San Mateo, Calif., Blizzard North strives to push gaming technology to the next level.

Headquartered in Irvine, Calif., Blizzard Entertainment was founded in 1991 under the name Silicon & Synapse by Allen Adham, president Michael Morhaime and senior vice president Frank Pearce.

Blizzard Entertainment is a division of Vivendi Universal Games, an operating unit of Vivendi Universal. Vivendi Universal is listed on the French stock exchange (#12777) and also the New York Stock Exchange under ticker symbol ?V.?

* Based on EDI sell-through, internal company records, and reports from key distribution partners around the world.

 

 

 

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