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Wednesday January 3, 2007 7:26 pm

Two New Ways To Get Halo 3 Beta

Master Chief When Microsoft opened their initial sign-up for the Halo 3 multiplayer beta, the form was swamped with gamers hoping to get access online. Now, the company has announced two new ways of getting into the upcoming beta release. First, the company has confirmed that those people buying Crackdown will be able to download the multiplayer beta upon release. Those gamers not willing to pony up the cash to get the game and access will have an alternate method; Microsoft’s “Rule of Three” program. Starting in February, gamers that qualify on Xbox Live and are among the first 13,333 Halo 2 players that register on the official Halo 3 website will also have access to the beta. One would also expect that there will be other promotions in the future to get into the test program as well.

The full press release continues after the jump.

Microsoft Announces Two Additional Paths of Entry to Halo 3 Multiplayer Beta

Gamers are invited to join the fight when the beta goes live this spring
with Xbox Live and “Crackdown” providing the final two paths.

Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie Studios are ringing in the year with a proverbial bang, as they announced today two new ways for gamers to receive an invitation to participate in the “Halo® 3” multiplayer beta program coming this spring through Xbox Live® Marketplace.

Specifically, gamers will be able to receive an invitation by doing one of the following:

· Qualifying over Xbox Live and then being one of the first 13,333 “Halo 2” gamers to register for the “Rule of Three” program at http://www.halo3.com in early February

· Purchasing the upcoming game “Crackdown™,” which hits store shelves in the U.S. on Feb. 20

The “Halo 3” multiplayer beta, which is a pre-release version of the multiplayer experience of “Halo 3,” is scheduled for availability in spring 2007 exclusively on Xbox 360™. The beta also represents an opportunity for gamers to participate in the testing and refinement of the multiplayer gameplay of “Halo 3,” the most anticipated game of 2007. Through the resulting feedback, Bungie Studios will be able to further hone the end result of “Halo 3.”

Beginning Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007, at 12:01 a.m. EST, all gamers need to do is participate in at least three hours of “Halo 2” multiplayer sessions, via Xbox Live, before Feb. 3, 2007, at 11:59 p.m. EST and then be among the first 13,333 to register at http://www.halo3.com. The “Rule of Three” program is currently planned for gamers in the 50 United States (includes District of Columbia) age 17 years and older who have access to an Xbox 360 Pro console or an Xbox 360 Core console with hard drive, a valid Xbox Live Gold subscription and the “Halo 2” game. Gamers around the world are encouraged to visit http://www.halo3.com in the coming weeks for more information on the “Rule of Three” program in their region.

As well, when “Crackdown” hits store shelves, gamers eager to take home a copy of the highly anticipated exclusive action title for Xbox 360 will find marked boxes of “Crackdown” that include an invite to participate in the coveted “Halo 3” multiplayer beta program when it becomes available. When the “Halo 3” multiplayer beta surfaces in spring 2007, owners of “Crackdown” with access to an Xbox 360 Pro console or an Xbox 360 Core console with hard drive and a valid Xbox Live Gold subscription simply need to load their copy of “Crackdown” into Xbox 360 and use the disc as a key to download the beta from Xbox Live Marketplace and join the battle in “Halo 3” multiplayer. “Crackdown” will be available in the U.S. on Feb. 20, Asian territories on Feb. 22 and European markets on Feb. 23.

In December, Microsoft Game Studios and Bungie Studios completed the first of three ways for North American gamers to participate in the “Halo 3” multiplayer beta, by registering at http://www.halo3.com. Gamers who were selected from this initial opportunity will be contacted in January.

From Realtime Worlds, “Crackdown” pushes the action-driving hybrid genre into the next generation with a rich and immersive 3-D playground. Gamers level up their Agent’s strength, agility, firearms, explosives and driving skills while scaling the fully vertical world of “Crackdown.” This M-rated game incorporates revolutionary co-op gameplay throughout the entire free-form campaign. Creating a volatile cocktail of judicial oppression, players will clean up the streets of a truly interactive world when “Crackdown” hits store shelves at an estimated retail price of $59.99.

About Bungie Studios

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. Bungie’s “Halo” franchise is an international award-winning action title that has grown into a global entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 14.7 million units worldwide, logging over 800 million hours of multiplayer action on Xbox Live and spawning action figures, books, a graphic novel, apparel, an upcoming film adaptation and more. Bungie is currently at work on “Halo 3,” which represents the third chapter in this “Halo” trilogy and is slated for release in 2007. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net.

About Realtime Worlds

Realtime Worlds’ key staff has a tremendous history of creating some of the world’s most innovative and best-selling video games, including the global hit franchises “Lemmings” and “Grand Theft Auto.” The development team was hand-picked by David Jones, founder of DMA Design Inc. and the designer and creator of more than 15 hit titles including “Lemmings” and “Grand Theft Auto.”

About Microsoft Game Studios

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox® and Xbox 360 video game systems, the Windows® operating system and online platforms. Comprising a network of top developers, Microsoft Game Studios is committed to creating innovative and diverse games for Windows (http://www.microsoft.com/games), including such franchises as “Age of Empires®,” “Flight Simulator” and “Zoo Tycoon®”; Xbox and Xbox 360 (http://www.xbox.com), including such games as “Gears of War” and franchises such as “Halo,” “Fable®,” “Project Gotham Racing®” and “Forza Motorsport™”; and MSN® Games (http://www.games.msn.com), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as “Bejeweled” and “Hexic®.”

About Xbox 360

Xbox 360 is the most powerful video game and entertainment system, delivering the best games, the next generation of the premier Xbox Live online gaming network and unique digital entertainment experiences that revolve around gamers. Xbox 360 is expected to have a catalog of 160 high-definition games by the end of 2006 and to be available in nearly 40 countries by the end of 2007. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/xbox360.

About Xbox Live

Xbox Live is the first and only unified online entertainment network seamlessly integrated throughout the entire console experience, making it easy for people to find the friends, games and entertainment they want from the moment they power on their Xbox 360 system. Xbox Live connects millions of members across nearly 25 countries to enjoy hundreds of multiplayer games, downloadable games via Xbox Live Arcade, free and premium playable game demos, music videos, and movie trailers, as well as new game levels, characters and vehicles for all their favorite retail games. More information can be found online at http://www.xbox.com/en-us/live.

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.

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Microsoft, Halo, Xbox Live, Crackdown, Xbox 360, Xbox, Windows, Age of Empires, Zoo Tycoon, Fable, Project Gotham Racing, Forza Motorsport, MSN and Hexic are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

The names of actual companies and products mentioned herein may be the trademarks of their respective owners.

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