Verizon Makes Major Move in Computer Games Arena

NEW YORK - Verizon announced today it is the title sponsor of the "Quake 4" tournament of the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) 2005 Winter Championships, from Dec.14 though Dec. 18. The CPL is the global leader in professional computer game competitions and the world's first computer game sports league.

At the Verizon-sponsored event, to be played live at the Hyatt Regency in Dallas, hundreds of players will compete for a total of $30,000 in prize money. The event also marks the first time that the latest version of the popular "Quake" series will be played in a professional competition.

As part of Verizon's agreement with the CPL, Verizon also becomes the exclusive provider of online game-play servers for the Cyberathlete Amateur League (CAL)-sanctioned "Counter Strike" tournaments, which are played online. CAL is the CPL's amateur division of games competition.

By utilizing optimized game-servers provided through the Verizon Game Network (VGN), players around the country will have the opportunity to compete with each other over Verizon's blazing-fast, low-latency broadband network or other broadband networks. VGN's optimized game-servers provide competitors greater speed and more user-features at a lower monthly cost than competing server offerings. In the CAL, the VGN will level the playing field across the competition by providing a common environment.

Designed for broadband PC Gamers, the Verizon Game Network gives players desktop software through which they can play on game-optimized Verizon servers, "quick-launch" their own game-optimized servers, or join public servers. Players on the VGN also have access to player tracking, stats, and up-to-the-minute news, videos, frequently asked questions and other content.

In September, Verizon entered the games market by launching Verizon Game Services. It offers customized packages for three types of game players: serious PC gamers who buy the latest games and want to play in an interactive environment with other serious players; mainstream gamers who play personal-computer games for recreation; and casual gamers including parents, who want a safe and secure online environment for their kids.

"Verizon broadband and game playing are natural partners -- the better the broadband, the better the player can be," said John Wimsatt, senior vice president of Verizon Broadband Solutions. "Our agreement with the CPL positions Verizon's brand with some of the best game players in the world and enables us to provide network benefits to many other game players striving to break into the professional arena."

Online gaming represents a critical piece in Verizon's overall broadband strategy, leveraging the company's powerful network to become the leading provider of the richest broadband content available. This agreement with CPL marks the logical next step in a series of promotions allowing Verizon to showcase its broadband technology with both professional game players and casual home network users.

Players using Verizon's FiOS network, which provides higher speeds than average cable or other broadband offerings, typically see shorter ping rates on VGN servers -- a key desire of players of first-person games.

"We're incredibly thrilled to have Verizon on board as the lead sponsor in the Quake 4 tournament," said Angel Monuz, president of the CPL. "Verizon is one of the world's most widely recognized digital broadband service providers, and its participation demonstrates how major corporations are seeing the incredible marketing and business potential of competitive gaming entering the mainstream. We look forward to a strong and productive relationship together throughout the 2006 season and beyond."

The CPL 2005 Winter Championships represent the first qualifying round of the 2006 season and the first time the newly debuted "Quake 4" game will be played in professional competition. So far there are more than 250 confirmed competitors who will vie for the chance to advance to the Summer Championship in June.

Future plans for Verizon's online games promotion also include a series of promotions in LAN Centers around the country where gamers play the latest first-person games, and the January 2006 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where Verizon Chairman and CEO Ivan Seidenberg will speak on digital technology in the home.

The Cyberathlete Professional League was launched in 1997 and has hosted live tournaments on five continents and official qualifying tournaments in over 50 countries. The CPL has also hosted 45 international main events with a total attendance of 50,000 gamers and has awarded $3 million in prizes.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), a Dow 30 company, is a leader in delivering broadband and other communication innovations to wireline and wireless customers. Verizon operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving 49.3 million customers nationwide, and one of the nation's premier wireline networks, serving home, business and wholesale customers in 28 states. Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of nearly 215,000 and generates annual revenues of more than $71 billion from four business segments: Domestic Telecom, Domestic Wireless, Information Services and International. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.