The Game to Save Healthcare’s Economic Implosion
It takes a village: but if we are going to really impact the economic-disaster that is rising healthcare costs and loss of productivity sedentary habits are generating then we need a village ( a creative and innovative village) of game designers.
Not only do 75% of all gamers prefer social and cooperative games, playing these actually improves their real-world sociability. For instance, children playing Super Mario Sunshine (a collaborative environmental game) in the week after playing the game spent three times the gametime on real world tasks such as assisting other people or cleaning up their environment.
Also self-improvement can be fostered by games – from the simple fact that people playing with a highly attractive avatar in a virtual world for only 90 seconds display a full 24 hours confidence boost in the real world.
“Based on these preliminary results, it seems likely that virtual reality users may adjust their identity to be consistent with that of their avatars. The public health urgency surrounding the issue of obesity means that any intervention that might possibly affect real-life health should be considered,” said Elizabeth Dean, research survey methodologist at RTI.
The results demonstrated that 80 percent of respondents who reported high levels of physical activity for their avatars reported participating in high levels of physical activity in their real lives.
The most impactful games are the ones that inspire real-world collaboration through Wiki’s etc, i.e. are so engaging that they get people to work together beyond the game environment to solve the challenges. The more we work with communities grappling with the challenge of engaging populations in physical activity for the long term, well beyond the usual 6-10 week intervention programs, the more obvious it becomes:
- The very populations who present challenges around physical activity participation
- The very populations who require the healthcare and insurance coverage for debilitating disease brought on by sedentary lifestyles
- The very populations that we might try to inform, engage, motivate and provide incentives to –
- Could be the very populations that embrace a well-designed “huge community social game for good” and energize/fund it by physical activity participation
The technology, imagination, creativity and even the funding is available right now. Are you curious? I hope so. Link me to your LinkedIn, your blog, your website, your Twitter (I’m HCDNetwork) or your concepts – change, hope and physical activity participation can become the greatest game ever!