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Articles | 19.5.2022

Huge market potential for health games

Psyon Games, aiming to be a leading designer of science and health games works for a healthier world together with the world’s largest health organizations and pharmaceutical manufacturers.

The goal of Psyon Games, founded in 2013, has always been to build a better world by combining science and gaming. The company initially focused on learning games, but the mobile game Antidote, developed for vaccine communication, eventually attracted more interest.

– From 2016 onwards, we have focused on health communications, as we recognized the latent market potential in that area, says Olli Rundgren, the company’s founder and CEO.

Within a few years, the company partnered with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical manufacturers and health organizations: GSK, Takeda, WHO, UNICEF and Gavi.

CEO Olli Rundgren.

Working with “health giants” and pharmaceutical companies, according to Rundgren, has been infinitely meaningful. Common values provide an excellent starting point for cooperation and health promotion on a global scale.

– Employees of health organizations are usually really motivated to take things forward. Our common desire to make an impact and solve problems brings a glue to the collaboration that is hard to imagine in a normal customer relationship, he describes.

Significant market potential in health games

The gaming industry is currently a hyper-competitive industry, especially in the arena of entertainment games. The situation is different in science and health games.

– The design of health games is somewhat more challenging than that of entertainment games because the information content must be factual and scientifically reliable. For example, all the information content in our Covid-19 game is validated by the WHO, Rundgren says. – The process also includes evaluating the impactfulness of the game together with our partners and experts.

Psyon Games can already be considered a pioneer in health games, even though, according to Rundgren, they have only just taken their first steps. The company’s skills are exemplified by the fact that their Antidote COVID-19, a game to increase vaccine awareness, is the only scientifically proven Covid-themed mobile game to be approved for Apple and Google online app stores.

– Health games are going to be a really big business. The market is only opening up, so commercially, we are seeing just the first steps into the market potential, Rundgren says.

– We have shown our capabilities and efficiencies in certain areas, but there is still a lot of untapped potential. We are currently developing products in that field. Our goal is to be the world’s largest maker of health games, he promises.

Does playing also affect vaccine acceptance? According to Rundgren, verifying this would require a lengthy follow-up study.

– However, with current methods, we can show that the game reaches and engages the audience much more effectively than traditional methods. We are doing research on how the game affects user attitudes and understanding of vaccines.

Positioning also requires expertise from investors

Rundgren points out that investors are usually advised to “invest in an industry they understand”.

– There are a lot of investors who understand the gaming industry and its laws; then there are a lot of investors who understand the pharmaceutical industry and life sciences. We are at the intersection of these two industries, which requires special expertise from investors.

He points out that the greatest innovations often arise at the junction of two or more interfaces.

– There is a paradox in positioning: if you do what everyone thinks is an excellent thing, someone else has probably already done it. If you’re too innovative, it’s considered a crazy idea.

According to Rundgren, cooperation and co-development are key issues in doing business.

– We are constantly identifying suitable investors and co-development opportunities with, for example, universities or non-profit organizations.

Impactfulness stems from a successful business

Rundgren himself has a sports background in ice hockey and football. He understands the importance of people complementing each other’s competencies in team and business building.

– No one builds a successful business alone. You need the right people for the right roles.

In addition to this, the company has a carefully designed “support network”.

– To improve our own and the company’s learning curve, we have received a lot of expert support from those who have invested in the company, from board members and from advisors, he says.

To build impactfulness, it is critical that the company can operate according to market laws, because only a profitable business can change the industry, or the world.

– The starting point, of course, is to produce something that people or companies are willing to pay for. Impactfulness comes from the company’s ability to succeed in business and show that it can solve the problem at hand.

– The greater the value you can generate, the better the profitability and the possibility to invest in product development – and create a bigger impact on the world.

Psyon Games

  • Established in 2013
  • Originally designed learning games
  • From 2016, focus on science and health games
  • Customers include WHO, UNICEF, Gavi, Takeda, GSK
  • Employs 10 professionals with competencies in various fields, plus a close-knit cooperation network.
  • Headquartered in Jyväskylä

Read more: psyongames.com

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