The Japanese Video Game Preventing Blindness

Published 11 October 2022

2 min read

Japan’s Tohoku University School of Medicine has developed Meteor Blaster – a video game that can detect early-stage glaucoma – combining play with scientific research and paving the way for similar groundbreaking initiatives that could alter the course of a person’s life. As the gamification market matures, companies are increasingly adding gaming elements to boost their engagement strategies.

The team of researchers partnered with national TV station Sendai Television to release the game. A free-to-play browser-based title, Meteor Blaster asks players to hold their phones 30cm away from their faces and tap their screens to blast moving meteors with a laser cannon. If they have a low score – meaning a slow reaction time – they’re encouraged to go to the hospital for a glaucoma test.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in Japan, and is second on the list in Western Europe. The disease often goes undetected, which is why it’s crucial to diagnose it early. Treatment can prevent blindness, but impaired vision can’t be restored.

Meteor Blaster is one example of how the healthcare industry is using gamification to influence positive behaviour in patients. New Zealand game Sparx uses cognitive behavioural therapy to help young people manage anxiety, Stylus members can find out more in our Resilient Adolescents: Gen Alpha/Gen Z Transition report. In two separate studies, gamification apps have even been shown to lower patients’ blood sugar and pressure levels.

As discussed in our Evolving Loyalty & Membership: Brand Strategies report, gamification is becoming increasingly popular for engaging with consumers across all sectors. And with the healthcare gamification market set to reach $9bn by 2031 (Allied Market Research, 2021), other companies will no doubt be following in Meteor Blaster’s footsteps soon.

Stylus members can access our Entertrainment: Pop Culture’s New Fitness Moves to learn how other industries are harnessing the power of gamification in their brand strategies.

The team of researchers partnered with national TV station Sendai Television to release the game. A free-to-play browser-based title, Meteor Blaster asks players to hold their phones 30cm away from their faces and tap their screens to blast moving meteors with a laser cannon. If they have a low score – meaning a slow reaction time – they’re encouraged to go to the hospital for a glaucoma test.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in Japan, and is second on the list in Western Europe. The disease often goes undetected, which is why it’s crucial to diagnose it early. Treatment can prevent blindness, but impaired vision can’t be restored.

Meteor Blaster is one example of how the healthcare industry is using gamification to influence positive behaviour in patients. New Zealand game Sparx uses cognitive behavioural therapy to help young people manage anxiety, Stylus members can find out more in our Resilient Adolescents: Gen Alpha/Gen Z Transition report. In two separate studies, gamification apps have even been shown to lower patients’ blood sugar and pressure levels.

As discussed in our Evolving Loyalty & Membership: Brand Strategies report, gamification is becoming increasingly popular for engaging with consumers across all sectors. And with the healthcare gamification market set to reach $9bn by 2031 (Allied Market Research, 2021), other companies will no doubt be following in Meteor Blaster’s footsteps soon.

Stylus members can access our Entertrainment: Pop Culture’s New Fitness Moves to learn how other industries are harnessing the power of gamification in their brand strategies.

Want to know more?

This is just a glimpse into our extensive reporting for members on the shifting consumer and product trends in technology. Get in touch so someone from the Stylus team can explain how your business can harness the power of trends and insights like these – and more.

Want to know more?

This is just a glimpse into our extensive reporting for members on the shifting consumer and product trends in technology. Get in touch so someone from the Stylus team can explain how your business can harness the power of trends and insights like these – and more.