One Big Game: UK game studios tackle 24-hr football marathon

Friday, May 5th, 2023

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Montage of six event images - players and teams

24 teams from UK video game development studios recently descended upon England’s St George’s Park training facility to play a non-stop football relay for 24 hours and raise a vital £30,000 for our work.

The event has its origins in the 2020 Covid lockdown, when staff from rival Xbox studios Rare and Playground Games organised an online fundraiser, playing 11-a-side FIFA live on Twitch. That graduated into a real-life football game between the two sets of players in 2021, and now this around-the-clock marathon match, featuring some of the biggest names in the video games industry!

One Big Game kicked-off at 7pm on Wednesday, April 26 and all 24 teams taking part – including squads from Rare, Playground, EA and Sumo, to name a few – were assigned a team colour: red or blue. Each team then played a full-length 90-minute match on rotation, representing either the red or blue side. Every goal scored then contributed to the overall score, which at the final whistle at 6pm on Thursday, April 27 was an epic 53-68 to the Reds, with an even more impressive £30,000 raised on the official One Big Game JustGiving page!

The entire event was streamed live on Xbox’s Twitch channel with a consistent audience of over 2500 viewers enjoying the action, accompanied by commentary from a multitude of special guests including Gav Murphy, Charleyy Hodson, Inel Tomlinson, Craig Duncan and Henry Melville, along with SpecialEffect staff Nick Streeter and Liam Lawler adding their expert punditry to what proved to be a highly amusing and good-spirited broadcast.

After the event, Tom Donegan, SpecialEffect COO commented, “A huge thank you to Rare for organising such a fantastic 24 hours, and we’re so grateful to everyone involved in playing, broadcasting, watching and donating to this unique event! The money raised will make a BIG difference as we try to level the playing field for gamers with physical disabilities. We don’t charge for any of our services, so these funds will go directly towards helping more people with disabilities to get back in the game. Well done to all the teams who took part, you’re ALL winners in our eyes!”

A very special mention and thank you to the organiser George Orton, who masterminded the event with incredible energy and passion.