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The gamification of health – developers wanted

By on September 17, 2010

I’ve been working on an interesting project to gamify health and wellness, and I can now talk about it.

Not only can I talk about it, I can encourage you to pitch to make the iPhone App to make it happen.

The You Company is dedicated to preventative healthcare and wellness. Wellness can be defined as follows: "Experts have long agreed that preventative healthcare is vitally important, yet is often underestimated or even overlooked. Wellness goes beyond preventative healthcare and is about being well and staying well i.e. optimising one’s health as well as avoiding illness.

The company has already launched a “Key to Life” product. This is a physical product with a sophisticated personal online support system that allows users to record and track biometric readings such as blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) and other essential health assessments recognised by the medical profession as being key to general health and wellbeing. Via an interpretative database (Pyro), Key To Life allows users to follow trends in their health, to be alerted to risk areas and to take control of their wellness.</p> <p>It is currently accessible as an online portal and is primarily distributed to employees as part of the HR practices of large corporates. For further information on TYC, please visit <a href=" home.htm?="home.htm?""" http:="http:" />

The problem with the existing Key to Life product is its inability to engage customers on a long-term basis, since it is based around users entering data via a PC purely for recording and tracking purposes. The You Company see an opportunity to improve customer attraction, retention, and monetisation via an engaging mobile application. This application must not be dependent upon the user already having “Key to Life”, but should encourage them to purchase it and make use of TYC’s services.


The You Company wants to build an iPhone application that will apply gameplay mechanics to the concept of improving awareness and building commitment to your personal health and wellness.

Health and wellness are complex issues which include exercise, fitness, diet, weight, social interactions and friendships. We want to build a journey for our users through awareness, intent and commitment to change their attitudes to health and wellness.

Specific objectives

Key To Life has seen partnerships from large businesses leading to good initial conversion, but has struggled with long-term engagement with end-users. A successful bid will address the following elements:

  • Promotion of health and wellness: This is the over-riding ambition of the app – to encourage users to become more aware of health and wellness issues and ultimately to become fitter and healthier through interaction with our technology.

  • Acquisition: Features and designs to draw users into the application and encourage them to invite their friends

  • Retention: Wellness and health programmes are only effective if consumers stick with them. The successful bid will offer gameplay mechanics that highlight and reward long-term engagement with the application.

  • Monetisation: This is a commercial project, and it must have a clear route to commercialisation. The company expects that the initial application will be free, with mechanisms of generating revenue from upsell or indirect routes such as advertising. We want the core application to be free, to drive users into the service and to offer upsell opportunities. One element is to upsell a full biometric kit (see below), but we would also like to be able to offer download only upgrades via in-app purchases.

Initially, retention is the most important objective.

The initial budget is £25,000 and will be undertaken in partnership with Codeworks DEV, which is based in the North-East and will be project managing the development. There is therefore a strong preference for a North East supplier.

Please do check out the brief, and pitch if you’re interested. I think it’s a very interesting project. It’s a tight timetable though – you need to submit your proposal by 27th September at 12 noon.

About Nicholas Lovell

Nicholas is the founder of Gamesbrief, a blog dedicated to the business of games. It aims to be informative, authoritative and above all helpful to developers grappling with business strategy. He is the author of a growing list of books about making money in the games industry and other digital media, including How to Publish a Game and Design Rules for Free-to-Play Games, and Penguin-published title The Curve: