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Microsoft Heralds a New Age of Gaming With “Age of Empires Online”
New franchise installment joins exciting PC lineup of LIVE-enabled titles from Microsoft Game Studios.

COLOGNE, Germany — Aug. 17, 2010 — On the eve of gamescom 2010, the world’s largest consumer-oriented games showcase, Microsoft Corp. unveiled the newest addition to the famed “Age of Empires” franchise, “Age of Empires Online.” Microsoft also announced the development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new entry inspired by the best-selling “Microsoft Flight Simulator” franchise. Published by Microsoft Game Studios, these new titles, along with the previously announced “Fable III,” fully integrate the free* Games for Windows – LIVE online service to deliver compelling socially connected gameplay experiences.

“Today, we’re bringing powerful, inventive gaming experiences to the Windows-based PC,” said Phil Spencer, corporate vice president of Microsoft Game Studios. “Over the years, our PC heritage captured the hearts and minds of millions of players. Reinventing these iconic franchises with social, shared experiences at their core marks the beginning of our return to PC gaming in bold new ways.”

“Age of Empires” for a New Era

With more than 20 million copies sold worldwide, the “Age of Empires” series redefined real-time strategy games for Windows-based PC players. Now, the timeless franchise once again invites players to experience its rich storyline in new ways. Developed by Robot Entertainment, “Age of Empires Online” will invite players to create a living, growing online world, shared with friends and friendly rivals around the globe. Begin the journey with your own Greek civilization, and watch as it progresses from a village to an empire. Embark on quests along the way, alone or with friends, and immerse yourself in epic tales, quirky characters, adventure, history and strategy. Together with the Games for Windows – LIVE service, “Age of Empires Online” delivers a rich, social experience that lets you play however you want — anywhere, anytime.

Marrying fresh features with iconic gameplay, “Age of Empires Online” offers something for long-time fans, newcomers and everyone in between. “Age of Empires Online” will feature:

A persistent online capital city that lives and grows even when you’re offline

Cooperative multiplayer quests, trading and a level-based system that lets you progress at your own pace

Fun, approachable style and storylines

Free-to-play experiences via Games for Windows – LIVE

More information, news and chances to join the beta program are available at http://www.ageofempiresonline.com.

Introducing “Microsoft Flight”

Twenty-eight years after the debut of “Microsoft Flight Simulator 1.0,” Microsoft Game Studios also announced the internal development of “Microsoft Flight,” a new Windows exclusive. “Microsoft Flight” will bring a new perspective to the long-standing genre, welcoming everyone, including long-time fans, to experience the magic of flight.

A teaser of the future of Flight on the Windows-based PC is available at http://www.microsoft.com/games/flight.

Discover Adventure With “Fable” on the PC

“Fable III” for Windows lets you once again join the action, drama and adventure while you rule Albion as the next king or queen in an ever-evolving world of rebellion and revolution. Discover new quests and unlock new regions as you make choices and sacrifices to test your morality and potentially affect your entire kingdom. The choice is yours: reunite the impoverished people of your kingdom as their monarch, or bring Albion to the brink of collapse.

Powered by Games for Windows – LIVE

All three titles are designed with Games for Windows – LIVE at the core, delivering a seamless online gaming experience from start to finish. Log in with a single identity to earn Achievements and up your Gamerscore across Games for Windows – LIVE and Xbox LIVE. See your friends online, send and receive voice messages, text messages and game invites, and enjoy cross-platform communication. You even receive automatic game updates and the ability to extend the experience with Game Add-ons only found on the Games for Windows – LIVE Marketplace.

Additional information, screenshots and trailers for “Age of Empires Online,” “Microsoft Flight,” and “Fable III” are available at the Microsoft gamescom press site at http://xbox.com/en-GB/press.

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox 360 video game console, Windows-based PC and Windows Phone 7. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating an innovative and diverse gaming portfolio across all platforms, including such landmark franchises as “Halo” and “Age of Empires.”

About Games for Windows – LIVE

Games for Windows – LIVE is a free online gaming service that lets you connect and play with your friends and more than 25 million global Xbox LIVE members. It’s a world-class online gaming network that offers online matchmaking using the patented TrueSkill enhanced matchmaking system. The service offers text and voice messaging across Games for Windows – LIVE and Xbox LIVE. In addition, consumers can easily discover, view, and purchase full game titles and game add-ons through the Games for Windows – LIVE Marketplace at http://www.gamesforwindows.com. For more information and updates on the latest games and add-on content available, follow the Games for Windows – LIVE Twitter account, join the Facebook page, or subscribe to the RSS feed.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

* Broadband Internet required.

Note to editors: For more information, news and perspectives from Microsoft, please visit the Microsoft News Center at http://www.microsoft.com/news. Web links, telephone numbers and titles were correct at time of publication, but may have changed. For additional assistance, journalists and analysts may contact Microsoft’s Rapid Response Team or other appropriate contacts listed at http://www.microsoft.com/news/contactpr.mspx.

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