• Virgin Media O2 and Ericsson have partnered with BBC Children in Need to bring HADO, an Augmented Reality (AR) physical e-sport, to towns and cities across the UK
  • The HADO game, which involves players on opposing teams wielding virtual energy blasts and shields on a real-world court thanks to AR headsets and sensors, will be powered by a 5G standalone mobile private network at venues across the UK
  • Players will take part in a series of regional heats to help raise money for the charity, with winning teams able to secure a place in a specially commissioned final show airing live on the BBC iPlayer and BBC Three on November 10th

Virgin Media O2 and Ericsson have joined forces to bring 5G-powered augmented reality (AR) gaming to towns and cities across the UK in support of BBC Children in Need.

As part of this year’s BBC Children in Need appeal, the charity is running a series of gaming tournaments across the UK offering gamers the chance to compete in a televised live finale.

The ‘HADO Tournament for BBC Children in Need’ will visit eight different UK locations during October, giving gaming enthusiasts the chance to compete on indoor courts using head-mounted displays and armband sensors in an AR immersive gaming experience.

As official connectivity partners for the HADO tournament, Virgin Media O2 and Ericsson will be providing a seamless connectivity experience for competitors by using a 5G standalone mobile private network to power the AR game at venues across the UK.

5G technology, which offers ultrafast and dedicated connectivity, can be used to optimise immersive gaming experiences with increased speeds, lower latency, and smoother graphics rendering, as well as providing a stable, secure and reliable communications platform for the live streaming and broadcast of game content.

Gamers across the UK will be able to take part in the tournament by entering teams and helping to raise money for BBC Children in Need who are uniting the gaming world through their ‘Game to Give’ initiative, which aims to highlight the positive impact of video games and technology.

Lisa Kelly, Head of Innovation and Development, BBC Children in Need, said: “BBC Children in Need is delighted that Virgin Media O2 and Ericsson are supporting the HADO tour as our official connectivity partners. This is our first ever gaming initiative which will culminate in a live show on the BBC iPlayer and BBC Three on November 10th.  It’s fantastic to have 5G connectivity to power the HADO Tournament.” 

Jeanie York, Chief Technology Officer at Virgin Media O2, said: “We are so proud to be playing a part in this year’s BBC Children in Need and using our services to make a real difference to the lives of deserving children across the UK. Next-generation 5G technology can transform gaming and by using it to support the HADO Tournament, we’re using the power of our network to make a positive impact on society while supporting this important cause.” 

Katherine Ainley, CEO, Ericsson UK & Ireland said: “At Ericsson we are strong advocates of technology for good and love to work with others to use our expertise, new technologies and solutions to transform sectors across society and make life better for everyone. By bringing 5G to the HADO Tournament for BBC Children in Need we are showcasing the huge potential of 5G to power different industries, such as gaming, as well as helping to raise funds for a great cause and promote a positive and social future for children and young people.”

This partnership comes just months after Virgin Media O2 opened the doors to its new dedicated gaming space, Virgin Media Gamepad at the O2, giving members of the public free access to a range of playable games on the latest gaming consoles. the latest technology.

Winners from the regional heats in Barnsley, Bangor, Basingstoke, Belfast, Coventry, Edinburgh, London, and Newcastle will be invited to take part in a specially commissioned live final BBC TV show at Confetti X, a new Esports centre in Nottingham, airing on the BBC iPlayer and BBC Three on 10 November.




  • BBC Children in Need has been passionate about making a real difference to young lives across the UK since its first television appeal in 1980, and participants in the challenge are encouraged to donate generously, with all proceeds going to support local charities and projects across the UK.
  • Realised as a sport in 2014 and played in 42 countries worldwide, HADO is the first-ever active esport that uses AR tech and motion sensors without requiring the player to be tethered to a gaming system, controllers, or cables. The digital experience is enabled by an AR device that players wear on their heads and a motion sensor the size of a smartphone worn on the wrist. Players are able to move unrestricted in the real environment while interacting with the digital items they can see through the AR headset.
  • Research conducted by Ericsson in 2022 showed that 35 service providers worldwide had launched cloud gaming together with a platform partner.
  • The cloud gaming market is expected to reach in excess of USD 8.2 billion by 2025
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