360 Kiosks Coming to Children's Hospitals

Microsoft is teaming with the Companions in Courage Foundation to deliver Xbox 360 kiosks to children's hospitals across the country, the company announced today.

Each kiosk will include an Xbox 360 packed with select games, movies and television content as well as access to a private network that allows hospitalised children to play games and chat with one another across the country over Live.

The first kiosks will be showing up today at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian, Children's Hospital & Regional Medical Centre of Seattle and the Children's Hospital of Orange County in California. Robbie Bach, president of the Entertainment and Devices Division at Microsoft, will even be on hand in Seattle to kick off the giveaway... and perhaps pwn some sick kids at Halo 3?

I kid because I care, seriously. As I've said before, I spent a chunk of one childhood summer in a children's hospital in Baltimore, so I know first hand how important it is to have toys and distractions when your hospitalised for long stretches of time.

Good for you Microsoft.

Xbox 360 Kiosks Bring Games and Entertainment to Children's Hospitals

Microsoft partners with Companions in Courage to give young patients an outlet for games and chat via private Xbox LIVE network.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 23, 2008 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a new partnership with the Companions in Courage Foundation, a nonprofit organisation dedicated to supporting children and families who are overcoming life-threatening obstacles. 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 Centre 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 customised 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 Web site at http://cic16.org to make a donation.


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