Integro – Connect to play

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Integro –
Connect to play

Integro is a data intelligence service built to help teenage gamers optimise for in-game and out of game well-being, based on a new system of in-game and out-of-game rewards. The service analyses and tracks the three most important variables for teenage development: sleep, physical activity, and social interaction. Users then receive a ‘balance score’ based on personal optimisation across these variables.

Integro is connected to user wearables and game accounts, such that when the ‘balance score’ is too low, game play is paused. Users receive in-game or out-of-game rewards for accepting game pauses, and are then connected to both recommended activities and other Integro users. When players achieve high balance scores, they also receive new rewards. Integro therefore provides gamers with new insight into the effects of their decisions within the visual language and experience of games, rewarding healthy game play and connecting gamers to a diverse and balanced range of activities.

MA1 – Team 4

Jess Stein 
Sujeban Susilakanthan
Shuning Wang
Yi Long
Yuxin Lu


WHAT? 

Tell us what the concept is about. What are you designing? What are the key benefits?

Our service solution seeks to help teenage gamers navigate mixed game and non-game realities to encourage healthy, balanced game play. Integro is a data intelligence service based on the tracking of users’ individual sleep, physical, and social health. Participation is reinforced by the system of rewards that not only supports acceptance of pauses in game play, but also offers either a) new game boosts b) rewards with out-of-game partners.

Benefits for users include new rewards within games, and the establishment of a positive behavioural loop (i.e. when you exercise more, you want to exercise). In addition, users will be connected to other users and activities based on their interests.

We also believe Integro supports the needs of parents/caregivers, who have an interest in encouraging balanced play without simply enforcing time-outs (which likely provoke tantrums).

What’s more, Integro will capitalise on new opportunities within the broader gaming ecosystem such that non-traditional partners (theme parks, cinemas) can be connected to the game ecosystem.

For game companies, Integro will provide anonymised gamer data (from across game companies), giving them new and richer data to inform creative content generation.

Integro will be free to game users, and we imagine that game companies would pay for data access (potentially leveraging subscription, fee-for-service, commission, or “freemium” models).

WHY? 

Tell us some of the key findings of your background research and what is the problem you are trying to address.

We know games are on the rise—by 2021 it is estimated there will be 2.6 billion online gamers. And with advances in game technology, games are becoming more life-like, more creative, and more immersive.

This future presents exciting opportunities: studies show the potential positive benefits of gaming (e.g. increased hand-eye coordination, confidence building, problem-solving). However, medical experts voice concerns about the risk of addiction, loneliness, and detachment from reality.

In particular, experts from the newly-established NHS Centre for Internet Addiction report than adolescents aged 12-20 are at the highest risk of heavy game-playing.

In response to these rapid changes, governments have responded with new regulations. In 2018, China suspended new game licenses, and since 2011, South Korea has regulated both age and hour of play.

We seek to intervene in this emerging environment—to create a service that empowers users to integrate games healthily in their routine, and one that champions a more nuanced response to games than outright bans on play.

WHO? 

Tell us something about your users and key stakeholders involved.

  • Gamers: this is our primary user. Integro is designed to support 12-20-year-old adolescents (who are not only the largest demographic, but who are also most in need of support given diminished impulse control). As the ‘balance score’ is based on individual needs (e.g. hours of sleep needed), the service adapts to the profile of the user.
  • Parents/caregivers: We believe that parents will be interested in encouraging healthier and balanced game play for their children via Integro.
  • Game companies: Central to Integro’s value is that it is embedded within the game experience. Currently, game companies can only access their own users´ data (major companies typically host 200 games). Integro will provide anonymised gamer data from across game companies, offering new insight into gamers’ behaviours and preferences.
  • Government: Game companies currently operate in a changing regulatory environment, where governments are seeking to control age, time, and duration of play. In this environment, Integro could provide a means for game companies to work with government partners.
  • Out-of-game partners: Our system of rewards includes access to non-game activities (e.g. theme park tickets) and merchandise (e.g. IT hardware). Games can be seen as a new social platform for the future, and Integro looks to connect the game experience and the next generation of gamers to new partners and activities.

WHEN? 

Give us an idea of the future scenario where your project will be working. 

Our project is conceived within a 10-year horizon. While our proposed intervention in the gaming ecosystem is currently possible (i.e. connecting health data to the game experience, as well as to new non-game partners), central to the proposition is the accurate tracking of sleep, physical, and social interaction. While advances continue to be made in wearable data tracking, we assume that in the next 10 years we will be able to better track across these variables.

Currently, the gaming ecosystem is largely self-contained, but in the coming years, we believe games will form the basis of new social platforms, networks, and interactions, such that the line between game and non-game environments will become blurred. We see Integro as an exciting way to connect a rising social platform and mode of communication to new social activities as well as to other areas within health and technology.

WHERE? 

Tell us if you have thought of a specific location where to prototype.

While the value of Integro is not limited to a particular country or location, we believe the U.K. would serve as a good place to first develop and prototype Integro. This is due its more open game licensing environment (as compared to e.g. China), as well as current interest in and momentum around developing new measures to safely monitor and track game play (akin to the regulations implemented around gambling in 2005 in the U.K.).

HOW? 

Give us an idea of your strategy, your process, your prototyping plan and the next steps.

Phase 1: Research
1) Parent user research
a. To date, we have conducted user research with gamers and game designers. To further refine our proposition, we plan to conduct research with parents to explore the role of existing monitoring platforms (outside of games), as well as to understand parents’ response to Integro’s proposition.
2) Data acquisition
a. Alpha: we would be interested in exploring whether existing Alpha research and data could inform the direction of Integro, for example:
i. Are there other variables we could (or should) track?
ii. In what ways could existing platforms/data collection efforts by Alpha support the development of Integro?
3) User testing
a. “Start/Stop” gamer observation: we plan to conduct qualitative research into the current situations and triggers that lead gamers to pause or start playing games (beyond physical triggers e.g. tiredness)
b. Rewards: we plan to conduct qualitative research into the types of rewards (both in-games and out-of-games) that would be particularly appealing to gamers.
c. Pause testing: we plan to prototype the language, colours, timing, and scenarios present when pausing gameplay (among both heavy and non-heavy game players) to explore the most effective way to encourage a pause in play.
d. Profile changes: by testing the proposition and experience of Integro with different sub-groups of gamers (e.g. different ages, genders), we plan to test the ways in which the service could vary across users and change over time.

Phase 2: Development
1) Partner solicitation
a. Integro stands at the centre of the gaming ecosystem, and seeks to broker relationships between game companies, gamers, and new network partners. As such, we intend to find:
a) Game company exemplar partner
i) Identify a game company to partner with e.g. are there likely candidates based on existing tracking/monitoring efforts?
b) Out-of-game partners
i) Form a list of potential partners for out-of-game rewards and activities, and commence relationship-building
c) Health data
i) Conduct market research into the health tracking landscape and identify opportunities to partner with existing wearable companies/platforms
2) Interface development and testing
a) We plan to develop and test an Integro interface, including a ‘balance’ score and reward dashboard, and a website where users can sign-up for the service.

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