(1475, ‘zone msn com br Commercial br Yes ad funded br Type of site br Web Games br Registration br Optional br Owner br Microsoft Corporation br Created by br MSN Microsoft br MSN Games also known as Zone com formerly known as The Village Internet Gaming Zone MSN Gaming Zone and MSN Games by Zone com is an online games site devoted primarily to casual games both stand alone and multi player online games Games are available in free on line versions trial versions and full feature pay to play versions Stand alone games can be played on the Web or downloaded to a personal computer or smartphone Multi player games require either internet or cell phone connectivity and access to an MSN Live Messenger account br The numerous multi player games that are available encourage a sense of community as players interact in online game rooms or lobbies while playing games using Windows Live Messenger and while on their cell phones when playing Windows Mobile versions of the games br MSN Games is a member site of the MSN portal and part of the Microsoft corporation headquartered in Redmond WA br Contents br 1 History br 2 Competitors br 3 Volunteers br 4 Setbacks br 5 Legacy br 6 Controversy br 7 References br 8 See also br 9 External links br br History br The first version of the site which was then called The Village was founded by Kevin Binkley Ted Griggs and Hoon Im In 1996 Steve Murch a then employee of Microsoft convinced Bill Gates to acquire the small online game site then owned by Electric Gravity The site was rebranded to Internet Gaming Zone and launched in 1996 br For the following 5 years the Internet Gaming Zone would be renamed several times and would increase in popularity with the introduction of popular retail and MMOG games such as Age of Empires Asheron s Call and Fighter Ace br Competitors br The Zone s first competitor were AOL s Games com as well Mplayer com and Sega s Heat net Today the site competes with other similar free game sites such as Yahoo Games and Pogo com br Volunteers br MSN s competition with AOL Games resulted in the creation of a Volunteer Program for the Zone which AOL also offered The idea was to have volunteers moderating chat lobbies hosting tourneys offering tech support and interacting with the gamers to collect general feedback Volunteer Moderators for the Zone were initially designated as members of the Zone Team or zTeam with assorted tokens assigned to five different teams the Gaming Team Helproom Team Tournament Hosting Team zStar Team and Tech Support Team br Because of legal complexities when AOL was sued by their volunteersnd the volunteers won the caseSN Games reformed their policy by contracting a third party company to manage the program In 2001 Participate Systems won the contract and would continue to lead the program until its official disbanding During the volunteer program s conversion to its new management all previous token designations were replaced with a single token and a new name the Member Plus or MPlus program Participate Systems was acquired by Outstart com in November 2004 br Citing MSN s statement regarding the closure of CD ROM games on the Zone on June 19 2006 the Member Plus program was also disbanded at that time due to the removal of chat capabilities from game lobbies and the end of support for the ZoneFriends client br Setbacks br In 2000 the site started to be a target of continuous crack attacks Crackers script kiddies for the most part targeted the Zone software In 2004 the worst crack attack occurred through the use of social engineering giving the intruders access to the administrator tools The intruders used their new found tools to ban players and other site volunteers br After the dot com boom web sites claimed difficulties managing their finances MSN Games changed its market strategy and left the retail market to focus solely on free and premium games a decision that finally culminated in their decision to retire support for CD ROM games and lobbies on June 19 2006 br Specialized programs including the Fighter Ace and Allegiance teams disbanded during the Zone s transition to the Member Plus program due primarily to the planned retirement of their associated games br Legacy br Personalities such as Bill Gates and his friend Warren Buffett have played bridge on the Zone Garry Kasparov chess champion played in a chess tourney organized by Microsoft The Sheik of The United Arab Emirates invited a few backgammon players from the Zone to play in his 2nd annual Abu Dhabi Backgammon Championship br MSN Games is credited for assisting with the introduction of new games on Windows Live Messenger formerly called MSN Messenger and the development of Xbox Live Arcade br Writer Dorothy Rosencrans wrote a book about her experiences at MSN Games and her encounter with Bill Gates br Lily Sparkletoon also wrote about her experiences through poetry in some of her poems in Acoustical Poetry She has gone on to write three other books such as Tales of Tara Gabrielian Chronicles 2007 Alma and the Lost Shoes 2009 Magical Adventures Rescued from Evil 2009 and hopes to have another out by the end of 2009 br Controversy br MSN Games announced in early 2006 the retiring of support for all lobby based CD ROM games chat lobbies the ZoneFriends client and the Member Plus program scheduled for June 19 2006 br as of June 19 2006 we will be retiring our CD ROM matchmaking service along with the original versions of several classic card and board games Classic Backgammon Bridge Classic Checkers Chess Cribbage Euchre Go Classic Hearts Reversi and Spades Wel be sad to see them go These games are like old friends they gave us our start and helped us grow from an innovative little entertainment site to a truly stellar online gaming experience But over the years it become more and more difficult to maintain the aging hardware and software that supports them We held out absolutely as long as we could but it was finally time to make that decision br In a series of public chats held with various administrators and developers of the Zone MSN outlined its plan to shift its gaming environment into Windows Live Messenger a more frequently updated client than the outdated ZoneFriends messenger used on the Zone However due primarily to MSN s inability to provide a timeframe for the expected replacement of chat lobbies tournaments and its Member Plus volunteer moderator program thousands of players appeared at each session to express their discontent and began an online petition in an attempt to stop MSN s scheduled changes As with previous changes however MSN has continued to stand firm in its commitment to the retirement of its services citing outdated hardware and lack of economic viability for the old products br Although alternatives exist to the Zone for CD ROM gameplay many Microsoft game studios embedded Zone links and functionality into their games including Angel Studios Midtown Madness and Ensemble Studios Age of Empires game series Ensemble only began their switch to an in game matchmaking system with the release of Age of Mythology and are currently scrambling to find a solution to allow easy matchmaking for the thousands of players who continue to play their older games br We at Ensemble Studios were recently made aware of this and will be actively looking for possible solutions for this situation over the coming weeks br Games as recent as Flight Simulator 2004 and Star Wars Galactic Battlegrounds utilized the Zone s lobby system for matchmaking For many such games no replacement service has been announced The first game in the Flight Simulator series to use in game matchmaking is Flight Simulator X released early 2007 leaving a gap of several months without MSN supported matchmaking services br References br Playing Around My Adventures on the Zone Com by Dorothy Rosencrans ISBN 0 595 29481 2 br Acoustical Poetry A collection of Writings by Lily Sparkletoon 1598002619 which can be found at http www amazon com gp product 1598002619 br See also br Star Wars Jedi Knight Dark Forces II br Microsoft Ants br External links br MSN Games homepage br Article about MSN Games br The book about MSN Zone by Dorothy Rosencrans br Wiki focused on MSN Game Zone badges br v 160 160 d 160 160 e br MSN services and tools br Web services br Hotmail 160 Money 160 Shopping 160 Games 160 more br Applications br Explorer 160 Messenger 160 Toolbar 160 MSN TV br Other br Mobile 160 Encarta 160 Microsoft adCenter br Discontinued br Chat 160 MSN Companion 160 MSN Direct 160 MSN Groups 160 Music 160 Search br v 160 160 d 160 160 e br Digital distribution platforms br Books br Amazon Kindle 160 Sony Reader 160 iBookstore 160 List of digital library projects br Music br 7digital 160 Amazon MP3 160 Amie Street 160 BuyMusic 160 CD Baby 160 eMusic 160 GoMusic 160 imeem 160 iMesh 160 iTunes Store 160 Kazaa 160 Last fm 160 MusicStation 160 Napster 160 Pandora 160 PayPlay FM 160 PlayNow 160 Puretracks 160 Rhapsody 160 Sellaband 160 Songza 160 Streamwaves 160 Vodafone Music 160 Walmart Music 160 Zune Marketplace br Video br Amazon Video on Demand 160 BBC iPlayer 160 BigPond Movies 160 Break com 160 Brightcove 160 Crackle 160 Dailymotion 160 Fearnet 160 Hulu 160 iTunes Store 160 Joost 160 Metacafe 160 Netflix 160 The NewsMarket 160 PlayStation Store 160 PlayNow 160 RT player 160 TVCatchup 160 V Cast 160 Veoh 160 Vimeo 160 Xbox Live Marketplace 160 YouTube 160 Zattoo 160 Youku 160 Tudou 160 RuTube 160 AOL Video 160 blip tv br Games amp br software br Windows br BigPond GamesArena 160 EA Store 160 GamersGate 160 GameShadow 160 GameTap 160 GFW Live Marketplace 160 Good Old Games 160 Impulse 160 iWin 160 Jumboplay 160 Metaboli 160 Microsoft Store 160 RealArcade 160 Steam 160 WildTangent 160 Windows Marketplace 160 Zylom br Mac OS br Gametreeonline com 160 GamersGate 160 Mac Games Arcade br Other platforms br Gaikai 160 Nintendo Wi Fi Connection 160 OnLive 160 PlayStation Store 160 Wii Shop Channel 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