More initiatives of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft
De
More initiatives of the Hamburg Kreativ Gesellschaft

Three Questions to: RetroBrain R&D - Working on the Intersection between Gaming and Eldercare

The Hamburg-based company RetroBrain R&D is exploring the fascinating cross-section of an easy-to-use game console for the elder generation that has not come into touch with video games so often yet, while also functioning as a medical device that increases their physical and mental fitness.

The topic has been in the talks in the industry for quite some time, and maybe you have even already spotted a Nintendo Wii in a care facility in the past. However, RetroBrain R&D is broaching the field with scientific backing and so we were interested to learn more about them and their project. We took the opportunity to ask Manouchehr Shamsrizi, Co-Founder and former CEO of RetroBrain R&D a few questions.

What is the memoreBox and what inspired the idea? Why did you choose Hamburg as your seat of operations?

On the one hand, the memoreBox is an easy-to-use gaming console for elderly people. On the other hand, it is a medical device aiming to increase physical and mental fitness as well as inclusion while playing. As such, it is “among the first videogames worldwide certified as a medical device” and one of the first digital solutions in nursing eligible for reimbursement by health insurances in Germany. We founded RetroBrain R&D, the social business behind the memoreBox, to change both, the practice of care (and notably of the availableness of prevention in care), but also the idea - or one might say: the “Menschenbild” - of our aging society: No matter how old or ill you are, thanks to video games, you can have fun, be active and autonomously, and make your own decision. Working at the interface of gaming, digital health, and social entrepreneurship we needed to find a region which can provide us with access to all three ecosystems - thus, Hamburg is the perfect city for us! We still have a strong bond to Berlin, though, as RetroBrain R&D is a spinoff of the gamelab.berlin, a research group of the Humboldt-Universität.

The memoreBox, the gesture controlled gaming console

You recently conducted a study on the effects of the memoreBox, could you describe this study and its findings?

The effects of our memoreBox are studied regularly and very interdisciplinary, as the impact we strive for happens on various levels. This is both needed for advancing our games (and thus our impact), as well as required by regulations - after all, we are working with and on a medical device here, even if it is a lot of fun, as it should be! Indeed, very recently a group of scientists featuring, among others, psychologists Prof. Dr. Reinhard Beyer and Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Luzi Beyer, published the results of longstanding study in a peer-reviewed journal. They concluded that “the results of this study showed that the intervention had an impact on the cognitive abilities of seniors, provided that they regularly played the serious game of MemoreBox”, and that “[i]mplementing an easy-to-use serious game as an effective (prevention) tool and making it part of the standard care in nursing homes might contribute considerably to the weak health care system, in which there tends to be a lack of activating offers for senior citizens in partially inpatient care facilities”.

Users playing on the console

What is your company’s vision (or prediction) for the future of the memoreBox and the area of games for seniors overall?

At RetroBrain R&D we believe that video games will be among the most effective non-pharmaceutical interventions, and have huge therapeutic, preventive, and rehabilitative potentials. For the current version of our memoreBox, we recently formed strong partnerships, like with Schenker Technologies - renowned for its brand XMG - to cope with the rising demand which results from the recent positive decision on regular reimbursement (“Regelversorgung”) by leading statutory health insurance providers in Germany. Other partnerships will allow us to further expand our impact to the rest of Europe, which we started to work on in Austria, Switzerland, and Luxembourg. In general, “Health Games” are here to stay, not only for seniors - it does not have to be grueling, boring and dreadful to maintain or regain your health, quite the contrary: It is more sustainable, productive and ethically desirable when staying healthy is fun. Encouragingly, the potential of “Health Games” has been recognized by many important and influential stakeholders here in Germany, including the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Funds - which a few months ago included gaming and gamification in its guidelines on health prevention - and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which just recently called on our Federal Government to broach the issue of “Health Games”. Both the gamescom last year and the upcoming Capital Congress Medicine and Health, each a leading event of their industry, gave / give special attention to this debate - anyone who is interested is invited to join us there this week.

This, by the way, is also a huge chance for Hamburg and our many indie game studios: I am convinced that we are in a “pole position” for this trend, thanks to our strong gaming-community, our research institutions, and the funding programmes offered by the City of Hamburg, like InnoRampUp. We should make use of these resources, as there are many more games to develop and much more impact to bring about! Let me finish with an invitation: Please reach out to us, if you work on “Health Games” or want to start working on such games - we are very happy to share our experiences, just as we have been supported by fellow (social) entrepreneurs when we started in 2014 :-)

--

Want to know more about the "memoreBox"? Check out the company's website: https://www.retrobrain.de/
 

News

Gamecity Hamburg and Hamburg Game Studios at Gamescom 2024

Gamecity Hamburg brings five indie studios to the next gamescom 2024 from August 21 to 25. Find out more about the indie teams at gamescom 2024 and our "Road to Program".

Road to Polaris 2024 - Apply until August 25

The community convention Polaris takes place on October 11-13 with a three-day program including gaming, e-sports, anime and manga, cosplay, and content creation. Gamecity Hamburg provides free booth packages for Hamburg-based developers, teams, and studios. Applications are open until August 25!

Recap: The Game Playtest Night #2 was a blast – and will return

Let's look back at our Game Playtest Night #2 in June: We cooperated with the gaming and esport location Play Bay in order to offer participating indie developers an opportunity, to test their work in progress games with the help of motivated test gamers.

Why LGBTQIA+ visibility in games is so important

Journalist Lea Irion came out about her sexuality thanks to a video game. Here she tells her own story and that of two LGBTQIA+ devs from Hamburg.

Third "Games Made in Germany" Steam Sale launches on June 20

The "Games Made in Germany" Steam sale by Games Germany will feature 250 great games made in Germany, starting on June 20 with a big showcase on the IGN Youtube-Channel and an exclusive vinyl with the best soundtracks from German games.

Goodbye Gamecity Hamburg Online Hub

The time has come for the Gamecity Hamburg Online Hub. We are closing the virtual home for Hamburg's games industry on our Gamecity Hamburg website. Join us for a trip back on memory lane.

Queer Games Bundle 2024 - Our top 5 Games

In the Queer Games Bundle you can find about 500 games, assets and more in support of LGBTQ+ games, creators and game devs. We picked some highlights for you.

Gamecity Hamburg & four Hamburg indie game studios and developers at Nordic Game 2024

Recap: Road to Nordic - Gamecity Hamburg at the Nordic Games Conference 2024

Let's look back at our Road to Nordic program: We attended the Nordic Game Conference 2024 in Malmö, with four Hamburg indie game developers and their game projects.

Gamecity Hamburg Prototype Funding 2024: Hamburg funds five prototypes of digital games

Gamecity Hamburg supports five game projects in the 2024 funding round as part of its Prototype Funding program. As early-stage funding for companies and start-ups based in Hamburg, the funding enables the development of prototypes of digital games with high market potential.

Job Spotlight: Bytro

Bytro is a well-established institution in the Hamburg games industry and the mobile and browser games market. Their first game, Supremacy 1914, will turn 15 years old in May of 2024. This is a rare milestone for any game, especially considering that this historic war strategy game might not exactly be a mainstream product. The key to running a successful company for a long time is, of course, the people. As Bytro is currently hiring, we spoke to Felix Schröter, the interim Lead for Analytics and Monetization. He has had many different opportunities at Bytro and gave us deeper insights into the company and their current job openings.

Games Lift: More Successful Than Ever

It’s high time to apply for this year’s Games Lift Incubator. The next round is already gearing up. Meanwhile, the program has proven its worth: It is developing success.

Games Lift 2024: Apply now from May 2 until June 10

Applications for Gamecity Hamburg's 2024 Games Lift are open from May 2 to June 10. Five teams will receive financial support in the form of 15,000 euros, a comprehensive workshop program and access to the Games Lift Network of international industry experts. In addition, the teams can benefit from 1,000 euros in coaching budget. After a three-month workshop phase, the teams will be further supported with individual mentoring and will travel together to an international industry event until August 2025.

More News
Cookies are used to make this website work and to enhance your experience.

To learn more about the types of cookies this website uses, see our Cookie Policy. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

Cookies are used to make this website work and to enhance your experience.

To learn more about the types of cookies this website uses, see our Cookie Policy. You can decide for yourself which categories you want to allow. Please note that based on your settings, not all functions of the website may be available.

Your cookie preferences have been saved.