A graphic announcing the "Free Games for NHS Heroes" initiative, featuring a picture of a nurse

NHS staff to be given free games and Xbox Game Pass codes

NHS staff will be given free games as part of a UK-wide initiative to thank healthcare professionals for their work during the pandemic.

Games for Carers has been launched by Ukie, the trade body for the UK’s games and interactive entertainment industry, and is supported by dozens of companies.

Xbox will offer three-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate codes for free, giving NHS workers the benefits of Xbox Live Gold and unlimited access to more than 100 high-quality games on console and PC. Games include Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Forza Horizon 4 and The Outer Worlds, plus other fan favourites such as Minecraft on Xbox One and Football Manager 2020 on Windows 10. Sea of Thieves creator Rare Studios will also take part in the initiative.

Jo Twist, Chief Executive of Ukie, said: “The UK games industry has united to say thank you to the truly extraordinary people who make up the NHS frontline team. Game makers and players everywhere recognise their exceptional bravery and dedication and hope this initiative helps them to understand how much they are respected and valued.”

Healthcare staff can get a free game by accessing the Games For Carers site and entering their NHS email address. More than 85,000 free games across a wide range of genres, age ratings and platforms will be available to download.

Other games companies involved in Games for Carers include EA, Sega, Team 17, Capcom, Bethesda, Jagex, Ubisoft, Konami, Sports Interactive, Creative Assembly and CCP.

Meanwhile, Xbox recently partnered with the NHS to place safety messages on the Xbox dashboard that remind people to stay at home to save lives during the pandemic. When clicked on, the panel plays a video offering the latest information and advice on the virus.

James Butcher, Xbox lead for the UK and Ireland, said: “We wanted to join the Games for Carers initiative and say thank you to all the brave NHS staff who are on the frontlines in the fight against Coronavirus. We are extremely grateful for all their hard work. We’re also pleased to be able to play a part in helping the NHS bring important public health information to our community to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.”

Caroline Dinenage, Creative Industries Minister, added: “Our amazing NHS staff are working hard on the frontline in the fight against coronavirus, and it is brilliant to see the UK’s video games industry uniting to say thank you through this campaign.

“We have worked closely with games companies to help keep people safe and I am delighted the sector is continuing to support the NHS in such an innovative way.”