Editor’s note, Nov. 3, 2010 – This article was updated with details about the event in New York City.
NEW YORK CITY – Nov. 3, 2010 – Microsoft is giving Kinect for Xbox 360 to every Boys & Girls Club in the country, the company announced Wednesday at a special event at the Hard Rock Café in New York City’s Times Square. Kinect goes on sale for in the U.S. on Nov. 4.
In addition to receiving Kinect for Xbox 360, each of the country’s 4,000 clubs will also receive an Xbox 360 console and two controller-free games, “Kinect Adventures” and “Kinect Sports.”
Actor and producer Mark Wahlberg made the announcement after playing Kinect with 21 children from New York-area Boys & Girls Clubs. Wahlberg said he attributes much of his personal success to afternoons and evenings spent at his local Boys & Girls Club as a child. After a large purple curtain dropped to reveal a wall of Kinect boxes, Wahlberg told the 21 kids in attendance that they’d get to take a Kinect home, too.
“Everyone went crazy – the kids were all surprised,” said Molly O’Donnell, director of integrated marketing communications for Xbox 360. “Not only did they get to be some of the first kids in America to try Kinect, but they get one to play at their local club and one to take home.”
Youngsters attending the announcement that Microsoft is giving a Kinect for Xbox 360 to every Boys & Girls Club in the country were told they could take a Kinect home, too.
After the announcement, the children – who ranged in age from 6 to 12 years old – got to play Kinect Adventures and Kinect Sports with Wahlberg. The purple-clad kids were wearing T-shirts with the Kinect slogan, “You are the controller.”
“We’re delighted to help make the kids from Boys & Girls Clubs some of the first to experience the benefits of active entertainment that only Kinect for Xbox 360 delivers,” said Michael Delman, corporate vice president of global marketing for Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business. “We developed Kinect to bring people together and give them a whole new way to play games, and we’re excited to give kids across the country the opportunity to jump in to the fun.”
Delman was joined at the event by Don Mattrick, president of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business.
“With Kinect, your whole body becomes the controller,” O’Donnell said. “It responds to your full body movements, hears your voice and really makes you a part of the game. We’ve seen first-hand how Kinect brings people together, encourages teamwork, creativity and active play, and we’re so excited to share that with Boys & Girls Club members around the country.”
Microsoft has been a long-time supporter of Boys & Girls Clubs, donating more than $150 million to help the charitable organization realize its goal of enabling young people to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens, O’Donnell said. The Club Tech program, founded with a donation from Microsoft in 1999, helps equip clubs with technology and computer training, empowering kids and staff members for real-world success.
Michael Delman, Corporate Vice President, Global Marketing, Interactive Entertainment Business.
“The vast majority of kids who go to Boys & Girls Clubs don’t have access to this kind of experience at home,” O’Donnell said. “Kinect is fun for them and healthy for their bodies – and it also gives them access to the latest technology, which can inspire kids and stretch their imaginations. It can help them think big, and have fun.”
O’Donnell said giving Kinect and Xbox 360 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America was the heart of this week’s launch activities and that kids make far better spokespeople than anyone in a suit.
“To me, this event was Microsoft at its best. It was not about marketing, not about sales, it was about the act of giving joy and fun,” she said. ”That’s what Kinect is all about. We have a big day of launch activities still ahead of us, but after seeing their 21 faces light up, I could go home happy now.”