Race to Save Earth in Worldwide Halo 2 Tournament Nears Finish Line

May 26, 2005

Race to Save Earth in Worldwide
Halo 2 Tournament Nears Finish Line

Regional Finalists Named in First
Global Xbox Live Contest

Qualifying finalists from 22 out of
Xbox Live’s 24 regions have been identified and will advance to the championship
round in the world’s first global Xbox Live Halo 2 tournament. The United States
and Japan regional contests are currently underway, with the winners being
determined by the end of May. The winners from each locality will vie for the
honor of being crowned Xbox Live Halo 2 World Champion, playing entirely online
via Xbox Live.

The global championship rounds will
be played on Friday, June 10 in double elimination rounds. The 24 regional
winners will be sectioned into four pools of six players each. The top three
will move on to the next round, while the bottom three from each group will move
into a elimination bracket; once a regional champion loses twice, they are
eliminated. Each round will last 10 minutes. The final matches will be played on
the new Halo 2 map, Warlock. Local start times for the final rounds will be
based on Greenwich Mean Time.

Having all 24 regions participate in
one global tournament is a first for Xbox Live, which makes the following gamers
trailblazers in a new era of online gameplay and competition. Because each Xbox
Live region was guaranteed a spot in the final round, each country has crowned
its own Halo 2 champion. Below is the list of the Xbox Live regional champions
to date:

Australia: Cabel
Austria: Billykater
Belgium: Project BE
Canada: I DaMan I
Denmark: GermanFreak
Finland: Iw1K1LL
France: I theos I
Germany: Pr0gamer
Hong Kong: Runningboy
Ireland: TheBar0n
Italy: N3LucifeRLS
Japan: To be crowned
Korea: Oddwing
Mexico: MexLoco
Netherlands: King Tuur
New Zealand: Bob69er nz
Norway: ZpiKey
Singapore: tidusSG
Spain: IlopsI
Sweden: Shellman
Switzerland: Otcho Boy
Taiwan: I Kobegod I
United Kingdom: o0Lethal0o
United States: To be crowned

The worldwide champion will receive,
in addition to the country champion prize package, a 50′ Samsung Flat Screen DLP
HDTV, a Samsung HighDef DVD Player, a personalized Xbox Live Halo 2 Worldwide
Champion Trophy featuring a 24 karat gold Halo 2 game disc, and $1,500 in cash.

Halo 2 is one of the highest rated
and top selling video games of all time, with more than 6.7 million copies sold
worldwide since November 2004. It was also one of the most profitable
entertainment initiatives of the past year, pre-selling 1.5 million copies in
the U.S. and taking in more than $125 million in its first 24 hours of release –
that is more than any opening weekend for a major motion picture in history. As
Xbox Live continues to redefine online gaming, Halo 2 features superior online
multiplayer capabilities, evidenced by the fact that Xbox Live gamers have
logged a record-breaking 240 million hours playing Halo 2 since its launch. To
date, more than 2 million unique users have played Halo 2 online on Xbox Live.

Now in its third generation of
transforming and uniting Xbox game communities, with more than 300 games planned
by end of holiday 2005 and now with presence in 24 countries worldwide, Xbox
Live has set the bar for online games entertainment. As the first global,
unified online console games service, Xbox Live continues to take online
gameplay and entertainment to unprecedented heights. With a rapidly growing
global community, Xbox Live offers best-in-class games, intelligent matchmaking,
tournaments, unique programming and integration with Xbox.com — there is simply
nothing else like it. The service continues to provide more and more ways for
members to meet, interact and stay engaged with each other.

Xbox (
http://www.xbox.com/ ) is Microsoft’s
future-generation video game system that delivers the most powerful games
experiences ever. Xbox empowers game artists by giving them the technology to
fulfill their creative visions as never before, creating games that blur the
lines between fantasy and reality. Xbox is now available in North America,
Japan, Europe and Australia.

Bungie Studios was founded in 1991
with two goals: to develop games that combine brilliant technology, beautiful
art, intelligent stories and deep gameplay, and then sell enough of those games
to achieve its real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it
has produced games such as the Marathon Trilogy and the first two Myth games,
hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. Released in 2001,
Halo: Combat Evolved has achieved phenomenal success on the Microsoft® Xbox
video game system and is also available for the Windows platform.