So those brain-training games for Nintendo DS don’t work? A recent study from the UK Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (CBSU) may indicate that playing such games don’t really help you to improve your mental agility. If that’s the case, then why are game developers and device manufacturers making so much money from the relatively new game genre?
The CBSU study looked at results from participants that played brain-training games, and pitted them against the results of those that answered general-knowledge questions on the Internet. There wasn’t much of a difference between the two groups’ results, and there wasn’t that much brain function improvement either.
While this study doesn’t really tell us much else, there are currently efforts underway to look at results over a longer period of time, and more specifically towards the prevention of debilitating diseases such as Alzheimers. Seeing as brain-training games have a tendeny to be promoted as those that can help avoid degeneration later on down the line, many game developers are able to tap into an entirely new market.
Just look at the target demographic of most brain-training games. Mostly adults, and even some that are in their senior years. Brain-training games are generally thought to be a good way to keep your brain active, all while learning to love the electronic device that seems to hold your kids’ attention more than anything else going on in the real world.
Making “video games with a purpose” is big, and still relatively new, business for game makers, as they’re able to branch their products far beyond the pre-teen children that can’t get enough of their hand-held entertainment. Finding a way to appeal to their parents means incorporating new material into the games, making the system more acceptable for use, overall.
But the downside of video games remains, including the eye strain, wrist problems, and countless other issues that arise from the long-term use of hand-held game systems. Of course, these problems arise with our regular use of laptop and desktop computers, cell phones, televisions, and nearly every other type of consumer electronic product that’s out on the market. Finding a way to have the benefits outweigh the costs is where marketers and developers team up.
Such marketing has moved to other game systems as well, with the Wii promoting its use for yoga and strength training. I’m not saying yoga and math problems on video game systems are all bad, but with new study data emerging, we’ll be able to better tell which games have more likelihood of having the pros win over the cons. This is something more consumers will have to consider in the future, as electronics become utilized for more than mindless entertainment. From education to exercise, electronics are becoming an integral part of our lives. Determining when it’s better to use electronic programs for “good” is a matter of personal preference–and health.
Nintendo highly values PR – to wit, agencies they have worked with include Golin-Harris, Red Consultancy, Cake, Bell Pottinger, Brands2Life, PrettyGreen & 77PR.