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PopCap, Games For Health Team On Cognitive Research

Casual game publisher and developer and research collective The Games for Health Project have jointly announced an effort to gather, evaluate, and share research on the u...
Casual game publisher and developer and research collective The Games for Health Project have jointly announced an effort to gather, evaluate, and share research on the use of digital games and cognitive health, following the Japanese success of games such as Nintendo's Brain Training. According to the two parties, the collectively funded effort will result in a publicly available knowledge-base summarizing both the research and market development activities associated with the possible use of digital games for maintaining healthy minds. Initial findings will be made available in early Spring 2006. "We know from basic research that active minds are more often healthy minds, especially as people age," said Ben Sawyer, co-founder and director of the Games for Health Project. "The goal of this effort is to establish a baseline of knowledge... PopCap's support is going to help us accelerate our activity to get a handle on this as a benefit to the entire field of games and games for health." "We have heard from many customers that they use our games for 'mental workouts' or 'brain exercise' but we're not even sure what that means or if it's even relevant," said Jason Kapalka, co-founder and chief creative officer of PopCap Games. "It may be true, it may not, it may require special types of games and/or other supporting activities or regimens. By partnering with the Games for Health Project we'll gain access to existing data and the emerging conduit for partnerships between healthcare researchers and game companies. Our plan is to share this work with everyone so we all have the same baseline from which we can inform ourselves and our customers -- and perhaps build even better, more beneficial, games." The project will run several months during which contributors to the Games for Health Project working with research advisors will scour research, interview experts in the field, and examine current products. This work will be compiled into a knowledgebase and a summary report will be developed and presented at upcoming game conferences starting in the Spring of 2006, as well as made public on the Games for Health web site. The companies also noted that the goal of the work is only to summarize past and present efforts. It is not designed to test the validity of any specific game (PopCap's or otherwise) for which there is no actual body of existing research.

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