There are a great deal of games for health that are effective, and were built with government grant money (e.g. NIH SBIR) but have not been discovered by their target audience.
SBIR does not allow the grant funds to be used for marketing purposes. Unlike medical devices and books, there is no clear marketplace for games like this.
My idea is for government to help estabish such a marketplace. I see it as a public/private partnership, wherein app stores, health care providers, public schools, public hospitals, and government establish templates for contracts, provide funds promotion (PR, ads) for games that fit NIH agendas, in partnership with existing nonprofits and other organizations that share aims with the game's goals.
I imagine the free market folks will see this as well outside the government's scope - marketing is a purely business problem - but I argue that for SBIR at least, there is a history of good games funded by US government not having their maximum impact because of discovery barriers not efficacy or design problems, and governments could improve the impact for games they have funded if they were to provide assistance.
Private consumer-facing entities such as Blue Cross or Kaiser could offer games like this on their portal, which makes them publishers. Contract terms like exclusivity could well limit the impact of such games.
If governments fund development, they should consider if that funding is justified without offering mechanisms by which games are discovered.
App stores are the obvious way such games are discovered, but they have significant limitations as I discuss in the other idea I posted.
Here is an example of an effective game that is (currently) not reaching its target market. This one was NOT funded by the US government, so it's not a good example in that way - but if anyone cares, I will find examples that are.
Note: I am not affiliated with this game myself. I am happy that it exists.
"Results from the randomized clinical trial published in the British Medical Journal (http://www.bmj.com/content/344/bmj.e2598) demonstrated that treatment with SPARX was as effective as care usually given, typically face-to-face therapy, in reducing depression among adolescents with mild to moderate depression.
"Among the adolescents participating in the clinical trial, the remission rate for those using SPARX was 43.7%, while the remission rate for those receiving the usual face-to-face therapy was only 26.4%." -http://linkedwellness.com/sparx-game/
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