We popped down to Chelsea’s home ground, Stamford Bridge, to talk to some of the top athletes involved with the official unveiling of a new charity partnership between Microsoft and the children’s charity Right To Play…
Before motion controllers came along, exercise of any kind was anathema to your average gamer. An out-of-breath breed for whom shouting during multiplay and scratching during loading times was more physical exertion than they could handle, many of them have now been converted into getting off their backsides and making some moves thanks to the likes of Wii, Move and Kinect.
In fact, motion-controlled systems have been credited with increasing fitness levels across a variety of ages and backgrounds, thanks to an emphasis on fun and general ease of use. So it’s perhaps not surprising that one of the big companies took the next leap forward in encouraging active play through interactive gaming.
Xbox 360 and Kinect creator Microsoft has announced a new partnership with children's charity Right to Play in which the former will donate hundreds of thousands of pounds to the latter to teach vulnerable children from all over the world how to protect themselves from disease and how to resolve conflict peacefully through sport and play.
The team-up was officially unveiled at Stamford Bridge this week as a host of high-calibre athletes got together to play a few rounds of Kinect Sports Season 2 and talk about why they’re putting their support behind the partnership.
“We’re like marrying two of my favourite things today,” said British number one alpine skiier, Olympic Torch bearer and Dancing on Ice star Chemmy Alcott. “I’ve been involved with Kinect Sport for six months – I helped them launch the ski game – and I’ve been an ambassador for Right To Play for over a decade. I think it’s just a genius idea.
'When we’re all caught up in Olympic fever, people want to see the positivity of sport.'
“After going to my first Olympics, I was approached by a lot of charities asking me to help them out, but I wanted to get involved with an organisation with whom I could talk knowledgably about. There’s nothing I know more about than sport, what sport has brought my life has made me one of the luckiest women ever – it brings me health and joy and so much possibility. That’s what Right To Play do, they use sport to teach people life skills.
“I think that this year when we’re all caught up in Olympic fever, people want to see the positivity of sport and that’s what Right To Play are bringing.”
“Sport is such a great thing. I’ve made so many friends through sport and it really boosts your confidence. It just makes sense to use sport in such a positive way,” agreed Team GB 400m hurdler and Olympic 2012 gold medal hopeful Jack Green before stepping on the stage to try out a few rounds of virtual tennis. “I don’t have an Xbox 360 at home so this could go very badly wrong,” he said. “To be fair, I did go to my girlfriend’s house at the weekend, she’s got two little brothers, and I was able to get a little practice in before today. I had to turn the rugby off to get my practice in and I really love my rugby, so that’s commitment!”
- Find out more about Right To Play
- Discover Red Bull’s very own talent-nurturing project – Under My Wing
- Check out the Red Bull gaming blog
- Glen Ferris is on Twitter