Loneliness is a serious problem among the elderly, affecting one in three seniors. According to Age UK, a month can go by in an old person’s life without them speaking to anyone, and the pandemic has only made this issue worse. Technological development has changed the way we communicate with each other, offering¬†people different platforms where we can meet virtually.

However, in the gaming world, players have the opportunity to build and maintain real relationships as well as using this world to connect with older members of the family.

There’s something more to the gaming world, something that can go even “Beyond Generations.” And Xbox can confirm that. During our weekly #ThrowBrandThursday column, we are reminding you of the brand’s campaign “Beyond Generations,” in which Xbox highlighted modern games’ potential in helping build real relationships. Developed with the help of McCann London, the initiative emerged to empower young people to start gaming with elderly relatives and thus, (re)connect with them via the power of games.

Xbox’s purpose is to help bridge the gap that settles in between generations, the platform being launched with two experimental videos. Each film follows the story of two different but real families. “Howard & Dhillon” video is about a grandfather and his grandson who used to be close. Because time passed and both grew older, they eventually drifted apart.

“Mary & Jason” is another video that documents the experiences of a boy and his great-aunt, who live far apart and have never really known each other. The docu-style short films show how the fun in the virtual, gaming universe reflects on the players, who form meaningful relationships in the real world.

The brand hopes to make families dealing with loneliness start connecting more via gaming. Yet, Xbox knows that not every senior has a console in their house so the image of young people, who might have an extra one probably forgotten somewhere in a storage place, popped up in their minds. As such, the brand introduced the “ReBoxing” project, encouraging young people to give their old console as a gift to an older person in their life.

The initiative could help write a new chapter in the lives of both a young person and an older family member. The project also comes with a kit that can be downloaded from the brand’s website. The instruction manual offers product tags, a “What’s in the box” list, and a place where the sender of the package¬†can write a message, making both the reboxing and unboxing processes much easier for both parts.

Xbox’s campaign “is a wonderful example of the innovative thinking required to see and solve problems during these difficult times, not all times,” Allen Adamson, contributor at our sister site, Brandingmag, said in an article about Xbox’s campaign.

He then explained that while many have become aware of the loneliness situation among the elderly, which has worsened during the pandemic, “it was the team at Xbox and its agency, McCann London, that saw the potential for Xbox to help mitigate the increasing sense of isolation being experienced by seniors. They did so by looking at their product through something other than the usual lens. Rather than viewing the Xbox as simply a teen entertainment device, this change in their frame of reference enabled them to see the Xbox as a way to bring people together.”

As part of the Xbox: Beyond Generation commitment, the brand has partnered with multiple charities that have a mission to support older people’s needs. In the UK, the partnership sees Xbox helping Age UK and the organization’s international work via Age International.


Client: Xbox

Agency: McCann London