What you need to know
- Xbox partnered with SpecialEffect and the England National team to help a fan with a rare blood disorder virtually attend a practice.
- The fan used an AV1 telepresence communication device that allowed him to look around the pitch as he watched the team.
- Several players and the manager of the England National team chatted with the fan through the telepresence device.
A football (soccer to our U.S. readers) fan named Olcan got to virtually attend an open practice of the England National team, thanks to Xbox and SpecialEffect. Olcan has Aplastic Anemia, which is a rare blood disorder, and requires a bone marrow transplant. Ahead of his surgery, Xbox, Special Effect, and the England National team worked together to give Olcan a remarkable day.
Olcan uses an AV1 telepresence communication device, playfully known as the Olcanbot, to communicate with others. The device can be controlled remotely through an app. It allows Olcan to have a physical presence in a room or area, even when he is virtually visiting. The AV1 helps students in classrooms, but it also gave Olcan a spot on the side of the National Team's pitch.
Xbox became an official partner of England's national football team back in August 2021. Part of that partnership focuses on inclusivity in play.
"At Xbox we strive to remove barriers and to empower people to experience the joy of play: millions of people around the world find common ground and connect through playing games, as they do with football," said Director of Global Xbox Partnerships Marcos Waltenberg.
That same ethos extends to Xbox's efforts to help Olcan interact with the England National team at St. George's Park.
At the end of the video, players Kyle Walker-Peters, Jordan Pickford, Jordan Henderson, Bukayo Saka, Harry Maguire, and Harry Kane chatted with Olcan. Team manager Gareth Southgate also had a message for the fan, which drew the most visible response.