Race to Save Earth in Worldwide Halo 2 tournament Nears Finish Line
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 Liveâ 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.
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