As part of its commitment to providing fun, interactive entertainment for children, Microsoft is supplying hundreds of Xbox 360 game kiosks to playrooms in children’s hospitals across the United States, intended to provide a respite for young patients and be a catalyst for fun. In addition to select games, movies and television content, the Xbox 360 kiosks will provide access to a private network that allows hospitalized children across the country to play games and chat in a safety-enhanced environment over Xbox LIVE, the world’s largest social network connected to television.
Microsoft is celebrating this partnership and the installation of the first wave of kiosks with three simultaneous events today at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center of Seattle and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County in California. Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, will attend the Seattle event to commemorate the first group of Xbox 360 kiosks and the launch of the special Xbox LIVE network.
“Microsoft is committed to keeping kids entertained in a variety of ways within a safer gaming environment, so partnering with Companions in Courage to offer children in hospitals a way to connect through something as universal as games is a natural fit for the work we do,” Bach said. “The goal for this program is to give these kids a chance to have some fun and just be kids.”
Companions in Courage founder and National Hockey League Hall of Famer Pat LaFontaine said, “Entertainment, creativity and personal connections can be important factors in alleviating some of the isolation and discomfort these children experience each day. Xbox 360 offers young patients a fun escape through games, TV shows, movies and positive interactions with others over the Xbox LIVE network. These gaming stations are a perfect complement to the interactive playrooms.”
The customized and hospital-friendly Xbox 360 kiosks are pre-loaded with a variety of Y-rated TV programs, G-rated movies, games rated E and E10+, as well as Xbox 360 Headset and Xbox LIVE Vision Camera capabilities, which enable patients to communicate over a dedicated Xbox LIVE network. This network, created just for Xbox 360 kiosks and consoles in children’s hospitals, allows patients to play games over Xbox LIVE, but limits chat via voice, text and video to only those children playing from select hospitals across the country. The industry-leading parental controls on Xbox 360, known as Family Settings, will be used to help restrict access to content outside ratings parameters, as well as the times during which patients can use the kiosks or consoles.
“It’s extremely gratifying to witness the joy and excitement of these children and teens when they have a chance to break away from the normal hospital routine, and make new friends while playing video games,” said Cynthia Sparer, executive director of Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian. “We are grateful that our partnership with Companions in Courage helps us meet the needs of our patients and allows kids to be kids even when they’re sick.”
To help bring even more Xbox 360 kiosks to children’s hospitals across the country, individuals can visit the Companions in Courage website to make a donation.