San Diego kid appears in Super Bowl ad - The CW San Diego - News 8

San Diego kid appears in Super Bowl ad

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — One reason – and for some people the only reason – to watch the Super Bowl is for the commercials.

A Microsoft ad for a new video game controller that aired Sunday captured hearts across the country – and has a special meaning here in San Diego as a local boy starred in the spot.

Ian Smart appeared in the Super Bowl commercial all because of his gaming skills.

"I've been a gamer for about three years now,” said Ian. “I really like the concept that we can play with friends even though we aren't in the same area."

When it comes to gaming, 12-year-old Ian knows what he likes. The San Diego seventh grader has been playing for about three years despite having to try a bit harder than everyone else.

"I was born with one hand,” said Ian. "I kinda had to struggle to keep up with my friends."

That's the basis of a new Microsoft commercial that aired Super Bowl Sunday.

Ian appears alongside other kids with disabilities highlighting the company's newest invention - an adaptive controller.

The commercial is a follow-up to Microsoft’s 2018 holiday ad, “Reindeer Games,” which featured Owen Simmons; the new commercial delves deeper into the life of Owen and his friends who live with disabilities that make it challenging to use a traditional video game controller.

The Xbox Adaptive Controller is designed to “level the playing field for gamers of all abilities.” The design allows users to connect switches, buttons, mounts, and joysticks to create a custom controller experience unique to them.

Ian and his parents heard about the need for disabled gamers on Facebook but they had no idea what or who they were trying out for.

"We're like, ‘oh, that's pretty neat. They want limb different gamers. That means they're trying to make something,’” said Ian.

After a Skype audition, Ian received a call Microsoft wanted to pay him a visit.

Weeks later, Ian got word he would be featured in a Super Bowl commercial.

"I was happy, I was excited,” said Ian. “I was like ‘it's gonna air on the Super Bowl? Everyone is gonna watch that?”

Not only did everyone watch it, but they may have learned something more valuable than the product itself.

The tagline sums it up: “When everybody plays, we all win.”

"I feel like it makes me feel like a normal kid,” said Ian.

Which he is; when he's not gaming, you'll find Ian playing baseball and his position is as a pitcher.

Ian's parents couldn't be prouder.

"He's just proven to us that he can do it,” said Ian’s mom.

"He continues to show us we really shouldn't doubt him at all,” Ian’s dad added.

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