Media giant Microsoft has announced a new partnership with the Companions in Courage Foundation. The charity builds interactive playrooms in hospitals throughout North America for children living with life-threatening illnesses. Through this new affiliation, the foundation will receive hundreds of Xbox 360 game kiosks.
Companions in Courage (CiC) currently have “Lion’s Den” playrooms in a few US hospitals, three of which received their very own Xbox game kiosk in April, 2008. Events were held at the Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, the Children’s Hospital & Regional Medical Center of Seattle and the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, California.
The Xbox fun centers come pre-loaded with a selection of E and E10+ rated games, Y-rated television programs and G-rated movies. But they also connect to a dedicated Xbox LIVE network, complete with headset and Vision Camera functions.
The network, one of the kiosks most attractive features, will allow kids to play with anyone on the Xbox live network. However, voice and text communications will be limited to the Lion’s Den network, in select hospitals.
“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.
“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,” said Pat LaFontaine, NHL Hall of Famer and CiC founder.
Created in 1997, the CiC has been focusing on fundraising for playrooms for the last five years. These help lessen the isolation of a hospital stay and create a friendlier environment for patients. Through innovative communications tools, CiC’s playrooms allow kids to connect to family and friends, while enjoying some much needed distractions. As well, these facilities devote almost half of their care to children of low-income families.
“Entertainment, creativity and personal connections can be important factors in alleviating some of the isolation and discomfort these children experience each day,” added LaFontaine, in a statement.
“Microsoft is committed to keeping kids entertained in a variety of ways within a safe gaming environment,” said Robbie Bach, President of Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division in a statement. “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. The goal for this program is to give these kids a chance to have some fun and just be kids,” Bach added.