PRESS RELEASE: As the one-year anniversary of the Xbox® Live TM launch (14th March 2004) draws near, Xbox® today announced a great-value Starter Kit package. Xbox also confirmed subscription renewal options that make it easy for the 100,000 European gamers now experiencing the service to continue enjoying the thrills of Xbox Live - Europe's first choice for online gaming.

New Starter Kit Offer

From the end of February, gamers can purchase a special version of the Xbox Live Starter Kit for €89.99/£59.99, which includes a one-year subscription to the service plus an Xbox Live Communicator and a copy of the acclaimed Project Gotham Racing 2 from Microsoft Games Studios. This offer represents a savings of €30/£20 off the recommended street price of the game. The original Starter Kit, which includes a Voice Communicator, a one-year Xbox Live subscription plus special versions of MotoGP and MechAssault will continue to be available at €59.99/£39.99 - about the same cost as one Xbox game.

A fantastic introduction to the world of Xbox Live, Project Gotham Racing 2 allows gamers to race the world in some of the most exciting cities on the planet and features outstanding graphics, sound and game options.

Flexible Renewal Options

Flexible in nature, the renewal options allow gamers to renew their Xbox Live subscription annually or on a month-by-month basis. Depending on their preferences, gamers can choose the following:

Monthly (€6.99/£4.99) - subscription renews on a monthly basis and is billed to the credit card associated with the current Xbox Live account. This option is great for those who wish to spread payment over time. Gamers can cancel at any time.

Annual (€59.99/£39.99) - gamers can choose to sign up for a full year's subscription, ensuring they never miss a moment of Xbox Live action.

Purchase another Starter Kit (€59.99/£39.99) - gamers can renew their subscription by purchasing another Starter Kit - and still keep their stats and Gamertag. Renewing in this way avoids charging the original credit card used to set the account up. All gamers have to do is use the subscription code in the new Starter Kit to extend the subscription for another year.

These options are valid for gamers whether they subscribed through a Starter Kit purchased at retail, or through the current Xbox Live trial offer (which gives gamers a two-month trial subscription to Xbox Live.) In addition, gamers who signed up on the Trial Offer and who purchase a Starter Kit can transfer their membership to the Starter Kit subscription without losing their current Gamertag or stats. All subscription renewals can be done easily and quickly via the Xbox Live dashboard.

"We're committed to creating multiple entry points to Xbox Live that suit every budget and preference, and this new Starter Kit package is a great way for gamers to get in and start building their legend on Xbox Live," said Michel Cassius, Senior Director, Xbox Platform and Marketing. "And the renewal options make it easy to continue making friends and competing with rivals online. We've listened to gamers when developing these offers, and will be announcing further initiatives in the coming months to encourage even more gamers to join the growing Live community."

Xbox Live is the only fast-action, always-on broadband gaming service where gamers can simultaneously play, talk and build their legend across games and around the world. It is available in 14 European countries and has more than 100,000 subscribers in Europe and nearly 750,000 gamers around the world regularly experiencing the unique social and gaming thrills that only Xbox Live can offer. Over Christmas the global Xbox Live community logged 4.5 million hours of game play - that's 500,000 hours per day. Xbox Live gamers are also a social bunch - with an average of 11 'friends' in their Friends List.