GFH Conference 2014 : Content

Last Update April 20, 2014

This page contains 30 session summaries for content finalized so far.

We will be continuously adding content throughout April with many great talks still to be posted.

As always content is subject to change before final timings and schedule posts in May.

Social Outliers: Social & Social Game Systems You Should Know


To the uninformed once you get past Facebook and Twitter you’d think the world was a barren landscape void of communication but one could not be more wrong.  In the past several years there has been an explosion of social network systems of many shapes, sizes, and capabilities such that it is not uncommon to find people who have over a half-dozen unique social networks they belong-to and participate heavily in.  At the same time, many specific demographics and regions have migrated from the well-known social networks to entirely new social network landscapes.  Teens these days wouldn’t be caught dead on Facebook, but Instagram is teeming with young social networkers.  Heard of QQ?  Tencent’s instant messaging service in China has 798 million active accounts.  Did you know that an entirely new batch of social network systems are thriving on the premise of ephemeral media, where media and text posted to them are gone within hours of their release automatically?  Want to participate in anonymous social media? There are plenty of specialized systems where your real name is the last thing you’re asked for.

During this session we’ll examine as many of the largest, and most interesting social network systems you may not ever have heard of.  As we do we’ll investigate specifically how games are working, or could work on these services, and what types of health games especially could be successful amongst them.

As more games become social, and the power of social networks to help and hurt our wellbeing is further established, it will be important for games for health developers to know about the worlds that lie beyond Facebook and Twitter.  Come hear about the social outliers, and avoid being one yourself.

Games, Medical Devices and the FDA: Now, Near & Next


This year we have a return of our session on regulation information that may increasingly be a factor in the development and deployment of your game for health.

Do you know which video games are subject to regulation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? Answer: All of them! (At least potentially.)

At this session, attandees will learn why some games for health might be regulated as medical devices by FDA, and what that means for game developers. Attendees will also be updated on FDA’s latest efforts to regulate mobile medical apps and how those efforts might affect games for health. In sum, this session will help demystify the FDA process and attempt to remove the “”scare factor”” of government regulation of video games.

Games vs. Gamification : A healthy discussion of pros & cons


The Games for Health field involves a grand spectrum of ideas and approaches designed to disrupt health and health care, but how well do you understand the differences that co-exist under the same general cry for innovation?

Too often, people say gamification when they mean games, and sometimes people say games, when they mean the simplicity of gamification. Most often, people are literally confused, thinking that these two words, and their associated practices and traits are one-in-the-same.

Well they’re not.

This session, parses the finer points of what is actually a fairly heated debate over what’s relevant when it come to behavioral design, be it for health, or other purposes. Instead of preaching from a pulpit, the session seeks to dispel and distill games & gamification into different tools in a common purposed toolbox that can be fused together more expertly.

Drawing on examples from existing games, gamification projects, research findings, and unique observations the session draws upon the idea of rather than be trapped in an either/or situation that the true health experience designer sees games and gamification as mutually inclusive and only exclusive when people cling to the mistaken definitions or points of purity that aren’t about solving the problem at hand. The rush toward gamification (vs. games) has brought with it a glut of problematic designs. A common source of trouble on pure gamification implementations is that people often define the experience very narrowly, sacrificing the fundamental appeal that draws people to games in the first place. A broader approach to design, still connected to some of the strengths gamification makes appealing, can lead to better outcomes.

Attendees to this session will come away with not only a better understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of two different approaches to games for health, but more importantly, the session seeks to get at the bigger issue at play when defining experiences as being games or gamified. That issue, simply put, is what works for the user and why?

Games for Health Government Meetup Hosted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Games for health as a field has benefited enormously from government sponsored research and interest in using games to improve health & health care across a number of important categories. One of the most active agencies has been the Centers for Disease Control which has undertaken several projects many of which attempt innovative methods for fostering interaction and activity between government experts, game developers, and researchers.

This hour long session, hosted by CDC staff is both an outpost for government members attending games for health, but also a chance to hear about several of the initiatives that the CDC has been spearheading to integrate game-based efforts into its national “Winnable Battles” campaign that includes efforts around:

    • Food Safety
    • Healthcare-associated Infections
    • HIV
    • Motor Vehicle Injuries
    • Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
    • Teen Pregnancy
    • Tobacco

These 10 areas cover a wide number of public health issues some of which games are potentially well tailored for.

Come find out more about the multitude of ways CDC and other government agencies are turning to games as part of their solutions toolbox. Find out what resources are available including subject matter expertise, evaluation resources, government events, and more that might potentially help your project as well.

Diabetes & Games Panel


Diabetes is increasingly to be thought of not just as a national, but global epidemic. As such there are an infinite number of efforts commercial and non-commercial aimed at preventing and treating those past the point of prevention. Games have already been an area of interest for health care, pharma, and public health interests for some time. This panel gathers together projects and experts from the games for health community with the goal of understanding what’s been done thus far, and what new approaches are coming or should be focused on going forward? A critical goal of the panel will be to understand how games play a role across those with and without diabetes, as well as specific opportunities to help those with the disease better manage their status.

From Tenacity to Zenjuvo: Developing a go-to-market game about mindfulness


Developed by the Games, Learning & Society program, and based on research by the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the Waisman Center, UW-Madison, Tenacity is a meditative app designed to promote mental well-being through breath counting. In Tenacity, the focus is on learning practices of wellness and self-regulation. Relax and concentrate on your own breathing as you explore Greek ruins, Egyptian dunes, and staircases that ascend into the skies, and unlock rewards and achievements as you become a more mindful person.

The work on Tenacity has also led to the development of Zenjuvo which takes the lessons from Tenacity and applies them toward an older audience. Designed for commercialization, Zenjuvo is an effort to move from R&D toward a fully fledged commercial product on mindfulness.

During this session members of the development and research time behind Tenacity and Zenjuvo will explain how the games have come to be developed, with a special emphasis placed on how a university spawned partnership is now attempting to move from research & development phase to wider, commercial, deployment of a game for health project. Thus, the session, which will cover ideas around using games to improve emotional health, is primarily a session about the trials of developing work that moves all the way through the hypothesis, prototyping, assessment, re-development pipeline with the goal of being a publicly available product on app stores worldwide in the next year.

SchoolLife: A Social Role-Playing Game To Combat Bullying


SchoolLife is a social role-playing game that teaches and assesses social skills to combat the bullying epidemic. Players take on the role of a bullying victim or bystander in a 3D virtual school, and engage in unscripted, open-ended conversations with their peers about how to respond a recent bullying event. Players can say anything they want by typing text. Artificially intelligent characters respond authentically by drawing from a large database of dialogues recorded between actual students. SchoolLife is browser-based, built with the cross-platform Unity game engine. Mobile versions are planned for release in fall 2014.

SchoolLife is the first product in development from Giant Otter Technologies, and is supported by an SBIR grant from the National Science Foundation. The technology platform underlying SchoolLife builds on over 10 years of research from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the MIT Media Lab — research which has proven that walking in another’s shoes virtually improves relationships, and has demonstrated automating conversational characters with crowdsourced data. This platform is generalizable, and will be applied to teaching and assessing a variety of social and communication skills in educational and professional settings in the future.

VR Rebooted: A-Z on the new wave of VR technologies for games & health


When FaceBook purchased Oculus for $2 Billion in cash and stock at the beginning of 2014 it really put an exclamation point on a major new reboot of VR technologies that was already well underway. VR has a been incrementally evolving since the 1950’s, but the new tsunami of cheap 3D displays, motion tracking, biosensors, and an exploding hacker/maker community have catapulted VR from futurist science fiction to a viable digital health solution of today.

This session put’s this transition in perspective from where we’ve been to where the VR Reboot is going. We will sort through the ins-and-outs of a plethora of new products and important known issues about of VR so attendees can better take advantage of the coming wave of headsets, SDKs, peripherals, and claims.

Exergaming 2015: a world of pervasive movement based entertainment


Exergaming has been a key poster-child for the games for health field since the first stories of people losing large amounts of weight with DanceDanceRevolution began circulating the Web. In fact, As researcher Ian Bogost has shown, exergaming goes back to the dawn of the computer games age in the early 1980’s.

But for all the effort, demos, products shipped, why does it seem that exergaming has stalled a bit? Perhaps one reason is that most of the efforts at exergaming have been around specific fitness oriented products that appeal to specific audiences. Perhaps it’s time to truly vision what exergaming could look like if it moved beyond it’s fitness and product only confines to something more pervasive, entertainment oriented, and systemic.

This session attempts to provide a deep analysis of the exergaming and active gaming field while also offering a carefully designed vision of what exergaming can do to reach its potential as a disruptive force in making people healthier.

Exploring commercial-off-the-shelf games for mental & emotional health


This talk will be the presentation of the findings from an early stage research project looking at the potential to use of games as a therapeutic tool for mental health patients who are diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorders. Unlike projects that seek to build a custom game experience this project is looking at the potential to use successful games games as tools for mental health therapy.

By examining fifteen principles that are inherently integrated into games and are aligned with cognitive-behavioral therapy practices we can begin to see how some games offer specific opportunities at different periods in the cognitive-behavioral therapy treatment of a patient.

Attendees to this session will gain three key takeaways useful for those seeking to use games in mental & emotional health contexts. First, is a deeper appreciation for the opportunities to potentially use off-the-shelf games. Second, is a novel look at what games offer to patients, such that even those building custom experiences may find new design practices, borrowed from recognized commercial games, that they can incorporate into their work. Finally, attendees, can look at how examinations of off-the-shelf games may be useful toward better establishing the inherent health opportunities in games released initially as everyday entertainment. Such opportunities cover many areas of activity across the games for health spectrum.

Board & Card Games for Health


The majority focus of Games for Health is on digital-based games for health but every so often we’re interested in the new developments taking place in non-digital board/card games. Often these games are translated into digital form, and learning about the differences and insights that come from non-digital games provides unique insights into the larger efforts to use games and game technologies to improve health & healthcare. Recent research by labs like Tiltfactor at Dartmouth have also begun to show the special affordances that traditional board and card games hold over their electronic counterparts.

This sessions brings together a cadre of projects and designers working on board and card games for health & health care purposes.

Projects featured in this session include:

Talk the Talk- A card game exploring adolescent sexual health, rights and identity
My Gift of Grace- A card game about end of life care and decision making
Gut Check – A party styled game about transparency in health care systems

Building Bamboo: A Weight Management Journey


Obesity has an enormous personal, societal, and financial impact, with some cost estimates reaching over $200 billion in the U.S. However, cutting just 200 calories a day may be enough to return a population to 1970s-level weight (Hill, 2009).

With this in mind, MeYou Health is creating a weight-management app that takes a practical, small-changes approach. Codenamed Bamboo, it’s a mobile, momentary intervention that helps users understand how their environment affects their food choices. This in turn will allow them to identify and eliminate 200 calories a day.

Bamboo is not a diet, a quick fix, a complex calorie-counting program, or an intervention that targets clinically defined weight loss. Rather, it presents a whole new way to look at food, one that results in realistic, manageable ways to address the challenge of weight maintenance.

Dovetailing into the MeYou Health product suite, Bamboo employs carefully applied game mechanics and user-centered design to encourage habit-building behavior change. The community’s genuine social engagement in realistic daily activities boosts eating habits, encouraging members along their own meaningful weight-management journey.

In this session, you’ll get an inside look at our lean product development process, including foundational discovery and ethnographic research, mechanical exploration, and iOS-first freemium design and development. You’ll can take a sneak peek, hands-on look at our Beta app – and perhaps join us on the journey.

The Games for Health Finland experience


Finland is one of the eHealth forerunners in the world. Finland hosts one of the most active and rapidly expanding video game industries in the world. What could be the result when the best of both worlds, eHealth and games, are combined?

Games for Health Finland ecosystem builds up from state-of-the-art research, standardization, safety, living labs (smart cities), user involvement and fast prototyping to promote entrepreneurship for global business. Games for Health Finland reaches even further by looking to connect nationwide electronic health record archive and public open data sources including environmental informatics for best possible personalized outcomes.

The session will be worked through showcase examples from the Finland and the participants are encouraged to actively involve to the discussion. This session will provive an understanding about the role of multistakeholder cooperation and co-creation for building sustainable Games for Health research, development and innovation environments.

Join us in this tutorial to experience the Nordic excellence first hand!

Building Nevermind: Creating a Health Game that People Can’t Wait to Play


Players are becoming increasingly aware of the power games have to inspire, educate, and motivate – as evidenced by the popularity of apps such as “Zombies, Run!” and “Lumosity.” However, despite the growing demand for beneficial games from consumers, educators, and politicians, many of these “games for health” are more often than not less engaging than their mainstream, AAA counterparts. The allure of a game that is not only fun but also genuinely makes you better/faster/stronger seems like an irresistible value proposition. So why haven’t we seen more successful games that are both fun and “good for you?”

Using the critically acclaimed and highly anticipated game Nevermind* as a case study, this presentation will bring to light many of the questions and challenges that surround making compelling games for health – in other words, games that entertain… with benefits.

The talk will start by establishing a frame of reference for the audience. A compelling game can mean many things – especially a game for health. On the one hand, most games for health have a goal that exists outside traditional game objectives. The game cannot just be fun for fun’s sake – it must, in most cases, benefit the player in a specific and meaningful way. On the other hand, if the game isn’t as fun and compelling as what most users have come to expect from a video game, then they may not even play it – not benefitting them at all!

Nevermind faced this challenge exactly – it wanted to integrate consumer-level biofeedback technology to create an experience that would challenge the player’s ability to control their stress levels on the fly. However, it also wanted to be a premier indie game experience that players would seek out in its own right. As you might expect, the team encountered many challenges, failures, and discoveries as we sought out the best way to ensure Nevermind’s success.

This talk will draw upon these struggles and discoveries from Nevermind’s development as well as Erin’s career as a creative director and game designer. Erin will speak to the components that any game for health needs to ensure a fun, engaging, and successful product in all respects – one that players will both yearn to play and will be left better off for it.

Nevermind is a biofeedback enhanced horror adventure game that dynamically responds to the player’s fear or stress (arousal) levels. As the player becomes scared, the game reacts by becoming more difficult. As the player calms down, the game will return to its easier, default state. In order to progress in the game, the player must learn to recognize to his/her internal stress responses and practice managing their fear and stress responses. The big picture idea behind Nevermind is – if the player can become more mindful of his stress responses and habituate stress-management techniques on the fly with the gamespace, then the player can employ those new skills and habits in his day-to-day “real life” as well. Nevermind has proven to be a successful indie game in its own right (IndieCade 2012 Official Selection, among other accolades) as well as a promising tool for helping its players in new ways (Finalist at the 2013 Games for Change Festival in the “Most Innovative” Category, in addition to being highlighted at ESCONS, Serious Games Showcase & Challenge, and SIGGRAPH).

Serious games for sensitive subjects


This roundtable discussion offers the opportunity for anyone pursuing building a game where the experience, related goals, and content cover sensitive subjects which may well cover many aspects of health & health care.

Starting with examples of current trends in the use of games to address sensitive issues and subjects, the roundtable lead by Alex Woolner of Coventry University (UK) will discuss how such games are being deployed and the work specifically in this area emerging from Coventry University’s Serious Games Institute.

Other project in attendance will also discuss their work briefly and then a larger conversation among all participants exploring how to make games on sensitive subjects such as STIs, end of life, emotional health will provide a forum to discuss and debate ideas, innovations, and best practices.


Crowdsourcing Games for Health : A Report from the Games & Crowds Conference


On April 30, 2014 over 150 participants across government, academia, and industry gathered together in Washington D.C. to explore opportunities to expand the use of games for crowdsourcing purposes.  Crowdsourcing games, are games used to help create, analyze, or annotate data, or perform some other key task in support of an outcome such as drug discovery, mapping, developing A.I., gathering biometric data, and more.  Whether used for productivity, citizen science, education, or accomplishing a huge task, game-based crowdsourcing has already seen over 50 games developed and deployed since its creation earlier last decade.

Many game-based crowdsource projects are health focused.  During this session participants from that meeting will summarize its content and findings with a special focus on health related efforts and opportunities.

Organization & Employer Wellness Roundtable


Workpless wellness is awash in the idea of games, some even actually have them but what’s the larger opportunity beyond the first wave of gamified step systems?  Will it be wearables, will it be desktop camera systems offer specialized Kinect like exercise breaks? And when will organizational wellness embrace games for things beyond getting you up out of your chair to include games for eating better, dealing with stress, and training works better how to avoid injury and generate a better workplace environment?

The opportunity for organizational wellness customers to drive huge uptake in games for health is significant but critical hurdles remain.  During this roundtable participants interested in meeting leaders in the space who have pioneered game-based solutions for companies big and small can gather and discuss what the next wave of solutions will look like.

As the discussion evolves moderators will formulate the ideas into a report that can be shared beyond the confines of the conference and form the basis for not only future discussions but greater advocacy to the organizational wellness marketplace about the opportunities for games to help them make their employees and customers healthier, happier, and more productive.

Games for Health Quality : Come Play with Us


In 2013-2014 Digitalmill teamed up with Dartmouth’s Tiltfactor lab to design, manufacture, test, and deploy games about health & health care quality.  This project, designed for Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality Campaign resulted in three games now available for play:

Pathways for Quality : is a card game that helps you to visualize how health quality initiatives are targeted and structured to achieve a wide range of quality care goals.

Bill of Health : is a board game that specifically focuses on how changes in payment reform can and will bring about major changes in how people are cared for and the systems needed to achieve better care for less cost over a persons lifetime.

Gut Check : is a fun “party game” where you play both provider and patient in a game of truth or care.  Learn how data and quality ratings transparency initiatives have the potential to disrupt health care markets and better empower patients like never before.

During this session we’ll introduce the games, briefly discuss the project and what we learned, but most of all we’ll make it possible for you to try the games yourself and provide a few prizes for the best players among us!

Meili: Develop your own Mobile Exergames


As part of its “Health Games for Everyone” effort, The Games for Health Project is pleased to debut Meili, an open-source game engine for building active mobile games of all shapes and sizes.  Meili, is a PhoneGap based framework that combines active gesture systems on mobile devices with an audio only game-engine.  Featuring a software pedometer, balance, and GPS engine, Meili can track many types of movement and easily use those as inputs for games.  With its “glanceable” focused UI users never have to be distracted while they go for a walk, run, or other form of out-and-about activity.  Meili responds to the user via multi-track audio, forcefeedback, and other interesting non-distracting forms of output.

With Meili anyone with a rudimentary understanding of programming can make active mobile games and compile them directly for distribution in under a day.  The license structure of Meili even lets you sell your work, and build entire versions of it that extend its features in new and exciting directions.  During this session we’ll introduce you to Meili, and help you understand how you can leave Games for Health ready to build and deploy cutting edge active mobile game experiences on leading app stores around the world.

Storytellers Roundtable : Creating Narrative Games that Change Behavior


Many games for health involve narrative elements, or are heavily narrative based.  This session focuses on how game-based health narratives can support and instigate health related behavior change.  Come discuss your ideas for how game-based stories can be developed and deployed offering important interactive methods for helping people improve their health.  Whether its a Twine based choose-your-own-adventure, or an epic 3D story where you actively battle your way to an improved BMI, this session is a chance for storytellers, narrative designers, and developers building narrative technologies to meet and discuss the best ideas for today and needs for tomorrow.

The Challenges & Best Practices of Building Health Games for Youth


Often games for health advocates need to remind press and customers alike that games are not a medium only for youth.  However, there is no denying how much youth today choose games as their preferred media form, spending many involving and engaged hours with their favorite games.  Except, while it would seem like a no-brainer to use games to reach young people about critical health & health care needs, the preference for games by youth is a double-edged sword.  Because, for all the attraction of games, there is a lot of expectations that come alongside.  For all the experience with games that make it easy for them to dive in, there are many who will quickly point out let alone exploit the flaws in your design.  And even if your game is good – how do you reach a market that is not only fickle, but also hard to reach through many common forms of communication.  Drop in prodigious amounts of regulation (COPPA anyone?) and other forms of gatekeeping and things go from being “kids love games!!!” to “how on earth is a kid going to play my game?”

The opportunity for games across a host of youth health issues is great, but one that can humble even the most prepared projects. Breaking down the challenges across identifying opportunities, design, and distribution, this roundtable will enable rich discussion by its participants with the goal being everyone learns how to better design health games for youth, and getting them used.

Games for Health International Meetup


Each year Games for Health sees many attendees from around the world.  This special meetup hosted by conference organizers is a chance for all internationally based attendees to gather and discuss how the field is growing in their regions.  Attendees will have the chance to share their specific stories, but also discuss how The Games for Health Project and its partner organizations and events can better support developers, researchers, and health stakeholders in their country to deploy successful game-based projects on a local and global basis.

The Hardware Hangout: Games for Health Hardware


One of the most amazing revolutions going on in technology today is the increasing capacity to create unique form of hardware.  No longer are circuit boards, processors, and embedded systems the province of a select few.  Today systems like Arduino, and tools like 3D printers are creating outright revolutions in technology.  Engineers are increasingly able to design their own hardware, raise funds from prospective customers and order profitable short-run manufacturing from global contractors.  The result is we have more new types of hardware and experiences than ever before.

Hardware opportunities aren’t just about the rise of new systems and products, a bevy of hardware hackers are modifying off-the-shelf mass-produced products to give them new uses, and capabilities.  An entire community devoted simply to making input devices more compatible for people with disabilities thrives across the Internet.  Students at major universities are designing DIY systems to solve major challenges in health & healthcare around the world.

Games are never far from any hardware innovation, and many of the most interesting innovations in the games for health are tied to new or hacked hardware systems.  For those that understand the inexorable link between new ideas in the realm of hardware and opportunities for new games, and health experiences this is the place to gather, share ideas, and cook up the next hack, device, or experience.

Wearables & Sensors : Options & Opportunities


This session will provide some basic information about the currently emerging field of wearable computing and sensors (biometric and otherwise) and then open itself up for a strong group discussion and networking opportunities.

To date, a number of games have been built using biometric sensors, geolocation sensors, many of which are mobile, and worn on person.

It is still early however, and as such this gathering is a good place for pioneers and those still learning about opportunities alike.

Participants in this session will cover three topics as a group exercise:

1. A review of the current state of sensor technologies, with a small slide deck offering a breakdown of the space, and the opportunity for people in the room to share any work they have done, or know further about.

2. A discussion of game opportunities, using sensors, with participants offering, and considering ideas for games that involve biometric feedback, geolocation, or environmental sensing.

3. A compilation of questions and advice.  Participants will also offer up questions not yet answered about how wearables and sensors can work to promote health & healthcare outcomes with games, as well as agreeing on possible key pieces of advice that can be shared further on Games for

Games & Autism : Developers & Researchers Meetup


This session combines group discussion with short presentations on work involving games for helping families with autistic members and individuals with autism spectrum disorder.  After reviewing the work of those in attendance, moderators for the session will foster additional discussion that will explore topics around games and autism in general, specific research findings & needed directions, development opportunities and techniques, as well as how the crucial issues over how deploy great game-based products that can be meaningfully assistive to those with autism.

Games for Global Health Meetup


Games for Health will feature a large pre-conference day on games and global health, however, for core Games for Health attendees the Games for Global Health Meetup will offer a chance to further explore how games are working, and could work, in global health contexts.  This can include not only opportunities for specific efforts in less-developed regions, but also opportunities to address truly global issues such as pandemic flu, nutrition, and the spread of non-communicable diseases.

Attendees to this session will first hear from those in attendance with projects in global health, and a brief summary of topics and findings from the Games for Global Health pre-conference meeting, then moderators will open up the discussion to explore questions, and other topics brought to the session by its attendees.

Market by Market : A Roundtable Discussion


This business focused session is one of several efforts to move beyond bench research, and small prototypes, and discuss what key market opportunities exist in the games for health field.  Two sessions will be held where moderators will help attendees discuss 6 critical markets (4 in each session) developing insights both into their opportunities, but also critical roadblocks that must be solved, or navigated by those seeking success in that particular portion of the games for health field.

Markets Covered (June 19)

    Exercise & Active Games

    Food & Nutrition

    Sensorimotor Rehab & Occupational Therapy

Markets Covered (June 20)

    Cognitive & Emotional Health

    Disease Management

    Workplace Wellness

Games & Pharma Roundtable


As games for health purposes become more and more capable the vision of games as therapeutics is being discussed with increasing frequency.  Will games, become more of a direct prescription, and/or part of a cocktail of behavior change focused digital therapies?  The Games & Pharma roundtable at Games for Health is a chance for developers and pharma related attendees to discuss games for all facets of pharma’s mission, from marketing, to training, to direct development as therapies.

After introductions by attendees with directly relevant work to the session, moderators will open the session up for discussion by participants.  Specific questions to be explored include: Understanding how games can be developed with pharma partners? What are the pathways for seeing games that are prescribed by providers in some form?  How do games as therapies navigate both path-to-approval, but also ensure viable businesses that can be developed and protected from quick commodification?

Deployment & Promotion Roundtable


“Build it and they will come”, well not so fast.  In today’s world with so many apps, sites, social network systems, advertising platforms, and more, the problems of attention, discovery, and sustainable marketing & distribution plague all software developers, and especially those in emerging markets like Games for Health.

This roundtable seeks to gather together the best collective minds to discuss how everyone can move from product in development to product thriving in deployment.  Special attention will be given to discussing health specific partnerships (e.g. payers as partners, school health programs, wellness retailers such as CVS), direct-to-consumer issues and more.

The goal for attendees will be to list as many basic ideas for achieving better deployment and promotion of games for health products across three markets:

Direct to Consumer

Consumer via Partners


Once enough ideas are proposed, attendees will rank each them in order of their combined feasibility for small-to-medium developers taking into account cost, logistics, and ability to draw interest from the target market or partners.

Outdoor Games Brainstorm


In the heyday of the Wii, PS3, and Xbox, as the games for health field moved into view from its humble beginnings so much discussion was around console and desktop-based experiences.  In 2014, nearly everything is mobile, enabling entire new experiences, and genres of games.  One particularly interesting genre of games are new forms of outdoor games that blend together new game designs and/or technologies to foster innovative ways to get people to move more throughout their life.

This session will offer a review of innovative outdoor game efforts including new non-technical efforts that are regularly celebrated by groups like Come Out & Play, and specific technology based opportunities that are made possible by mobile devices, wearables, sensors, and environmental technologies like iBeacons.

After discussing and hearing about some of the existing work and technologies, attendees will be challenged to propose new ideas for games played outside and how they might not only be developed, but also released such that they create new kinds of activities that engage millions of people around the world.

Through this participation attendees will may gain new perspectives on using mobile technologies to instigate exercise, in-store games to foster better food choices, and new ways to get families outdoors enjoying parks, and other forms of recreation.

Funding, Grants, and Fundraising : Finding Capital for your Health Game


Games for Health can’t build themselves, and despite the growing capacities for rapid prototyping, and low-cost development, capital is going to be a huge need for all but the most extremely resourceful of projects.  Games for Health 2014 features daily roundtable sessions where anyone seeking to raise capital can come together and discuss best practices, offer questions to be answered, and identify the opportunities that might work for their particular needs.

Moderators hosting the session will first offer some basic information for attendees, covering the broad areas funds are available from, and then enabling attendees to comment and discuss each one.  No stone will be left unturned! There will be opportunities to discuss grants, venture capital, crowdfunding, Kickstarters, challenges & prizes, accelerators & incubators, contract work, and if time allows, how to identify development strategies that meet the smaller maximum funds many capital sources are offering.

Researchers Meetup


Every year academic, independent, and industry researchers interested in findings, methodologies, and opportunities have gathered during Games for Health to catch up.  The Researchers meetup this year will be held across two-days (June 19-20) of Games for Health.  Moderators will make sure all attendees are given a chance to share their current work, interests, and questions, while also ensuring time is left for good discussions about the future of the games for health field, and the best ideas for extending research and research roadmaps into the months ahead.

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