Technology

Gaming Charity Expands Into Hospital Services With For-Profit Arm

GameChanger Charity, which aims to help sick kids through the power of videogames, announced a new for-profit content platform that the charity says will make games, video, and educational content more accessible and affordable to hospitals and their patients.

A charity known for making gaming accessible to sick kids is taking that idea into a bold new direction this week.

GameChanger Charity, a decade-old nonprofit that uses videogames as an outlet for children facing health challenges, recently announced the launch of a new for-profit subsidiary called ZOTT that will offer a cloud-based content platform to help hospital patients interact, learn, and socialize.

“A lot of the hospitals have really outdated gaming systems, really outdated tools to [help patients] stay intellectually engaged, to play with their friends, and to feel connected to the world around them,” Taylor Carol, cofounder of GameChanger, told VentureBeat this week. “It’s an incredibly painful situation, and one that often seems delineated between different socioeconomic status. Some families can afford to give their kids a Switch or bring an Xbox One or PS4 into the room. Those kids can stay engaged. But so many patients can’t do that.”

Carol speaks from experience. GameChanger came to life in 2006 as a result of lessons he learned while fighting leukemia. He felt a lot of isolation as a child but found that playing games helped to get him through a difficult time. The experience led him to launch the nonprofit with his father, Jim, a onetime technology executive.

Since then, the videogame industry has embraced GameChanger’s mission. In the past two months, it has raised $18 million, in part through donations from Microsoft. The nonprofit recently added Mark Lamia, the chairman of Call of Duty developer Treyarch, to its board.

With ZOTT, the organization sees an opportunity to support its mission by helping to build the technologies that hospitals offer to patients. The ZOTT content platform, currently being tested in eight hospitals, offers access to livestreaming video, live television, HTML5-based games, a custom Minecraft server, and educational and clinical content.

ZOTT will have an industry heavyweight at its beck and call: Jon Shipman, a former executive with the livestreaming platform Twitch, serves as the company’s president.

“I know from my own son’s experience the positive impact meaningful opportunities to play, learn, and socialize can have for those fighting through a life-threatening illness and the ensuing recovery, especially at a young age,” Shipman said in a statement. “ZOTT is a new leap forward in patient engagement and support, with the power to scale GameChanger’s founding mission for socioeconomic good upward around the world. You’ll be hearing a lot more from us in the coming year.”

(Handout photo)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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