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January 16, 2018

Fourdesire Takes Mobile Games Beyond the Screen

By Special Guest
David Fournier, Guest Contributor

The mobile gaming market is rapidly expanding. In 2015 it generated nearly 35 billion U.S. dollars in revenue and by 2020 it is expected to produce approximately 75 billion U.S. dollars.  In the United States alone, there are 192 million mobile phone gamers, and that number will only continue to grow as technology advances.  With popular entertaining games available such as Candy Crush, Clash of Clans and Animal Jam, there is a strong demand for amusement in everyday life.  The huge mobile gaming market continues to increase in both revenue and users.

The impact of technology is fully dependent on how one wields it, with one notable side effect being a significantly reduced time for physical activity.  As a result, people have become incredibly sedentary by spending an average of 12 hours sitting a day.  According to JustStand, the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality is physical inactivity and about 3.2 million deaths are related to physical inactivity.  The new mantra “sitting is the new smoking” was coined by Dr. James Levine, inventor of the treadmill desk. This statement is supported by the findings of researchers that prolonged sitting increases the risk of severe illnesses such as various types of cancer and heart disease.  Surely with all these technological advancements, there must also be progress done to help further physical engagement, right? 

Thankfully, the significant technological growth has also extended into changing human lives for the better. Through the psychological principles instilled within gaming, it can lead people into desirable outcomes by “nudging” them in the right direction. The nudge theory describes how small incentives can motivate people to make better decisions. Thus, the amplified effects of gaming are not restricted to being behind a mobile screen, rather they can extend to impacting daily habits and help work towards positive life changes.

Gamification is the application of game elements to solve non-gaming problems and make learning interesting and entertaining.  Gamification is used by many organizations to encourage employee engagement and incremental learning. The global gamification market is also on the rise, with its expected growth to go from $1.65 billion USD to $11.1 billion USD by 2020

Fourdesire, the mobile design studio, is using mobile gamification as a tool to impact people’s lives in a positive way. Fourdesire incorporates the fun of games into ordinary life, by going beyond the limitations of your mobile screen to help generate real life changes. Fourdesire offers various apps to motivate people to practice good health and money habits.

One of the apps offered by Fourdesire is the Walkr app, a mobile “exergame,” which is a video game that requires players to engage in real-world exercise in order to play. While there are pedometers and fitness gadgets to keep track of the steps or miles, they don’t drive encouragement to new users trying to form the habit of walking. The Walkr app offers something distinctly more fun, with its vividly colorful galaxy-building game that motivates players to be physically active to further advance in the game. With each step players take, they gain energy to fuel their spaceship, fly around and explore 25 planets, each with their unique alien life forms and ecosystems, including space creatures that need help finding their way home.

Fourdesire’s  Plant Nanny helps users cultivate healthy habits by reminding them to drink water at regular intervals.  If users drink enough water and track their intake, their virtual plant prospers. However, if they drink an insufficient amount of water, then their virtual plant will dehydrate and “die,” and they’ll have to start over. The app also records drinking history everyday to help build a regular water drinking habit.

It can be incredibly tiring and stressful to track expenses, but with the Fortune City app, it offers a unique approach to money management by combining financial tracking and city simulation.  The app tracks real-world expenses and players are rewarded with a growing city that is unique to them. Additionally, the app builds personalized charts to provide players with a clear understanding of their personal finances.  If users have good spending and saving habits, they’ll earn achievement awards.

These and other games show that technology can help merge the previously distinct worlds of fun and fitness. As we look toward the horizon at emerging tech such as virtual reality or augmented reality, the future looks increasingly encouraging that people will be able to both enjoy the benefits of technology without the associated downsides.

Edited by Ken Briodagh

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