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World of Warcraft(R) Launches in Region of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau; Blizzard Entertainment(R)'s Popular Online Game Surpasses 4.5 Million Customers Worldwide Prior to Launch in Taiwan.

IRVINE, Calif. -- Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. today announced that World of Warcraft(R), its award-winning subscription-based massively multiplayer online role-playing game, has officially launched in the region of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. Players in these territories can now purchase the game at retail or download it from www.wowtaiwan.com.tw/06Download/SupportTools/supporttools.asp, create their accounts, and then log on to experience the epic adventure of the Warcraft(R) series in an immersive and continually evolving online environment.

The commercial launch of World of Warcraft in the region of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau follows a highly successful open-beta period. During the open-beta test, World of Warcraft reached a peak concurrency -- the total number of testers playing simultaneously -- of more than 140,000 players, with a total open-beta base of more than 800,000 players. Worldwide, the game has a total of more than 4.5 million customers, which is expected to grow with the rollout in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau.

"Gamers in these regions have always shown great support for Blizzard games, so it was important for us to launch World of Warcraft there as quickly as possible," said Mike Morhaime, president and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment(R). "We're now looking forward to seeing all of our newest players online and providing them with an unsurpassed gaming experience."

Blizzard's partner, Soft-World, and its subsidiary, GFI (Game First International), are leading the operation and management of World of Warcraft in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. GFI's dedicated team in Taiwan will provide synchronization of content updates and deliver player feedback to the developers. The team will also offer 24-hour customer service with direct game master (GM) support and local call-center representatives dedicated to helping players with questions regarding gameplay and technical issues.

To maintain a safe and secure game environment for players, Blizzard has implemented a CD-key-based authorization system for World of Warcraft. This system will help protect the game from malicious hack programs that could negatively affect players' enjoyment of the game. Only players who have purchased an authorized CD key will be able to activate their accounts and enter the game.

Each CD-key package costs 168 NTD/42 HKD and includes 99 free World of Warcraft points, which are used for game time. Points expire at a rate of 5 per hour (5 NTD/1.25 HKD per hour). Additional World of Warcraft point cards can be purchased for 150 NTD/37.5 HKD and 300 NTD/75 HKD. There is also a monthly card available at 450 NTD/112.5 HKD, which provides unlimited play time for a period of one month.

For more information on World of Warcraft, including pricing, promotions and gameplay features, please visit the official website for the region of Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau at www.wowtaiwan.com.tw.

World of Warcraft's Customer Definition

World of Warcraft customers include individuals who have paid a subscription fee or purchased a prepaid card to play World of Warcraft, as well as those who have purchased the installation box bundled with one free month access. Internet Game Room players having accessed the game over the last seven days are also counted as customers. The above definition excludes all players under free promotional subscriptions, expired or canceled subscriptions and expired pre-paid cards. Customers in licensees' territories are defined along the same rules.

About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.

Best known for blockbuster hits including the Warcraft, StarCraft(R) and Diablo(R) series, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Vivendi Universal Games, is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating many of the industry's most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard's track record includes nine #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The company's free Internet gaming service, Battle.net(R), reigns as the largest in the world, with millions of active users.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 8, 2005
Words:644
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