FuturLab, the British studio that developed PowerWash Simulator, has started a collaboration with independent researchers from Dell‘Internet Institute of the University of Oxford. The partnership is aimed at conducting research, unique of its kind for the methodology used, on the relationship between video game use and mental health.
Thus comes one Research Edition of PowerWash Simulator, a relaxing cleaning and pressure washer simulator, released for PC and consoles last July (also available on Game Pass). The Research Edition was released on August 18th, and is currently available on Steam.
The Research Edition of PowerWash Simulator to study the relationship between video games and mental health
Compared to the standard version of the game, the Research Edition does not include multiplayer and is only available in English. This also features a new character, which allows researchers to interface with the player, who will ask questions about the gaming experience. These are very simple questions (it will take at most a couple of seconds to answer), which therefore do not affect the gameplay.
The answers provided will remain absolutely anonymous, without any kind of profiling by researchers or FuturLab. Players will also be able to deliver feedback to researchers through the button “Tell us how you feel”, present in the new game menu.
Those who decide to take part in the research, downloading the new version of the game, will be rewarded by FuturLab with a series of cosmetic rewards for PowerWash Simulator. Commenting on the initiative, the British developer said: “This is a unique research of its kind, which will be important in understanding the effects that video games can have on users.”
How to take part in the research?
Those who want to try the Research Edition, and take part in the research, must already have the base game on Steam. A minimum understanding of the English language will also be required, since this version does not include the Italian language.
The Research Edition is available for download at this link. Progress made in the Research Edition will not carry over to the main game.
In talking about PowerWash Simulator we have repeatedly stressed how the game is extremely relaxing. It is no coincidence that the videogame tagline reads: “Release the pressure”. Our review reads:
“A bold game that, while everyone else pushes the accelerator to deliver fast-paced gameplay, it brings us back to the tranquility of the passing time. Cleaning is also and above all a way to unplug and, as the game suggests, release the pressure. An appointment with your own thoughts, with flowing water and chirping birds in the background ”.
What is the relationship between video games and mental health?
Over the years, countless studies have been conducted on the mental health benefits of video games, with often conflicting results.
Research conducted in the early months of the pandemic analyzed titles such as Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Plants vs Zombies: Battle for Neighborville. The study showed that these games, characterized by solid functionality of social gamingthey could have positive effects on psychophysical well-being of users.
On the contrary, a more recent study, conducted on a sample of about 40,000 peoplerevealed that video games have no significant impactin terms of well-being, about who uses them.