Want a Xbox Live Backstage Pass to Play Halo 2?

Microsoft today announced the Xbox Live Backstage Pass Sweepstakes featuring Halo 2, which will give 20 lucky winners from around the world the chance to play Halo 2 multi-player before the most anticipated game of the year hits store shelves in North America on November 9, 2004. With over a million members, Xbox Live is the premier destination for online console gamers. In order to be eligible for the sweepstakes, gamers must have a valid Xbox Live account as of October 15. Winners will be drawn on October 22 and will receive a three-day/two-night trip for the winner and one guest to Bungie Studios in Redmond, Washington to play Halo 2 multi-player. Package includes round-trip air transportation to Seattle, Washington, hotel accommodations, roundtrip airport transfers, meals and a tour of Bungie Studios. For more information and official rules, please visit http://www.xbox.com/en-US/news/backstagepasssweepstakes.htm .

Xbox Live, which launched in the United States Nov. 15, 2002, allows gamers to play multi-player Xbox games with other gamers worldwide via a broadband connection. With a built-in hard drive and Ethernet port, the Xbox console is the only video game system built from the ground up for online gaming. Xbox Live enables gamers to easily find their friends, talk to other players during gameplay through the Xbox Communicator headset, download current statistics, new levels, and characters to their Xbox hard drive, and play online.

Pushing the Xbox hardware to its very limits, Halo 2 will expand on everything that made the original game great, plus add a wealth of technological and gameplay advances. Significantly improved graphics, enhanced artificial intelligence (AI), an advanced real-time lighting engine, and destructible interactive environments are just a small part of Halo 2's evolution of design and technology. Every improvement in Halo 2 is designed to take gameplay to a new level -- and in the end, to tell a more compelling story.

Utilizing Xbox Live to redefine online play, Halo 2 delivers superior online multi-player capabilities. Whether playing with a clan on a new multi-player map, boarding a friend's Warthog, dogfighting in Banshees, or checking player stats, Halo 2 will bring the social experience to a higher level via Xbox Live. More information about Halo 2 is available at http://www.halo2.com/.

Bungie 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 the real goal of total world domination. Over the past 10 years it produced games like the "Marathon Trilogy" and the first two "Myth" games, hailed as classics by critics and gamers around the world. "Halo: Combat Evolved," its latest game, has achieved phenomenal success on the Microsoft Xbox video game system. More information on Bungie can be found at http://www.bungie.net/.

Microsoft Game Studios is a leading worldwide publisher and developer of games for the Xbox video game system and Windows 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 (http://www.xbox.com/), including such franchises as Halo, Project Gotham Racing and MechAssault; and Zone.com ( http://www.zone.com/), the official games channel for the MSN network and home to such hits as Bejeweled and OutSmart.

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