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Xbox Fans Plan Mass "Sickie" This Friday

13/03/2002 reveals the secret plans of UK gamers

13 March, 2002, London: on Thursday14th March, the day the most eagerly awaited games console ever goes on sale, three quarters (74%) of people who buy an Xbox are planning to pull a "sickie" to spend time at home playing the world's most realistic and exciting games, according to research commissioned by leading online retailer

A further 20% of those asked are still thinking through the consequences and had not ruled out the idea of bunking off work.

Employers should be wary because nearly half (46%) of these "stay-aways" are intending to feign illness as an excuse, though 26% are planning on being honest, laying the blame at Bill Gates's door and preparing to face the music later.

It is also expected to be very quiet in the pubs, clubs and cinemas across the country this weekend as almost two thirds (62%) said that they would be spending every waking minute snuggled up with the console enjoying the mind blowing new games. Whether that be snowboarding through the Alps, racing through the streets of London or Tokyo or beating back the alien hordes--the Xbox games are like nothing ever seen before.

Christian Harris, head of Video Games for said, "We knew from our pre-order sales that demand and expectations were high but we didn't envisage just how many people would skive off work. I would advise anyone who is planning on pulling a sickie to be careful and instead look forward to a fantastic weekend where you can play to your heart's content with no worries."

Customers keen to avoid midnight queues on the High Street can pre-order a console for delivery on launch day from and take advantage of our great offers on Adrenaline and Mayhem bundles. The Adrenaline bundle includes Project Gotham Racing and Amped: Freestyle Snowboarding, while the Mayhem bundle includes Halo and Dead or Alive 3. Both come with an extra official controller and a free strategy guide while stocks last (Halo Strategy guide for Mayhem and Project Gotham strategy guide for Adrenaline). Both cost £396.96.

The research was conducted with over 3,000 gamers on in March 2002.

For further information please contact the press office on 020 8636 9280.

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Forward-looking Statement

This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to potential future losses, significant amount of indebtedness, competition, management of growth, potential fluctuations in operating results, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions, and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, international expansion, consumer trends, inventory, limited operating history, government regulation and taxation, fraud, and new business areas. More information about factors that potentially could affect's financial results is included in's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2003, and all subsequent filings.

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