Shan Eisenberg, CCO of Sandbox Group, sheds light on the intersection of cognitive health and gaming

Introduction:

In a recent Q&A session, Shan Eisenberg, the Chief Commercial Officer of Sandbox Group, shed light on the intersection of cognitive health and gaming. The discussion centered around the importance of keeping age as a prominent factor in the conversation and exploring the positive aspects of aging. Eisenberg highlighted the role of work in maintaining mental sharpness and delved into the potential benefits of gaming for cognitive well-being. The transcript reveals intriguing insights into the use of gaming as a tool to stay mentally sharp and combat cognitive impairments. Let’s explore the key takeaways from the conversation.

The Emergence of Edutainment and Learning Games:

Eisenberg introduced Sandbox Group as an award-winning games company focusing on learning. He emphasized the category of edutainment, which lies at the crossroads between education, technology and multimedia content. Sandbox Group caters to a wide range of ages, from pre-schoolers to seniors, with a portfolio of learning brands. Eisenberg mentioned notable brands like Hopster, Toucan Box, Code Kingdoms, and Cool Math Games. The group develops games that encompass various aspects of cognitive skills, including attention, coordination, working memory, reasoning, and visual-spatial abilities.

The Benefits of Gaming for Cognitive Health:

Eisenberg explained that scientific research supports the notion that brain training activities and games can reduce the risk of cognitive impairments, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. Although gaming is not a silver bullet, it can play a significant role alongside exercise and a balanced diet. Eisenberg stressed the importance of substantiating claims in the gaming industry and ethical practices. He mentioned that organizations like the American Geriatric Society openly acknowledge the positive impact of brain training games on cognitive health.

Designing Games for Cognitive Stimulation:

When discussing game development, Eisenberg revealed that Sandbox Group has an in-house gaming studio that creates games for different age groups. They follow a framework focused on memory, attention, coordination, reasoning, and visual-spatial skills. Eisenberg highlighted the significance of striking a balance between engaging gameplay and the cognitive benefits provided by the games. He emphasized the importance of gamification, encouraging regular use without creating stress or anxiety. Eisenberg also mentioned the “Goldilocks zone” of gamification that promotes engagement and loyalty.

The Underserved Older Generation in the Gaming Industry:

Eisenberg acknowledged that the gaming industry, like many service industries, has overlooked the older age segment although insights show that in mature markets like the US almost one in two over 50s is already gaming. He attributed this oversight to the complexity of addressing this market effectively. Eisenberg discussed the challenge of engaging older individuals, suggesting that the telecommunications industry often struggles to find the right approach due to perceived technology and content barriers. However, he emphasized the importance of catering to this growing population segment, bridging the digital divide, and offering relevant content and product propositions.

Russam’s Age-Friendly Pledge:

It is worth noting that Russam, as a company, has made a pledge to prioritize age-friendliness. The commitment to being age-friendly aligns with the conversation about cognitive health and gaming. By recognizing the importance of age as a factor in the conversation, companies like Russam can contribute to creating a more inclusive and accessible gaming industry. This commitment can involve developing games and services that specifically cater to the needs and preferences of older individuals, promoting engagement, cognitive stimulation, and overall well-being.

The Potential of Gaming in Ageing Better:

The conversation highlighted the increasing significance of gaming in healthy aging. Eisenberg explained that gaming can contribute to a healthy lifestyle and prevent loneliness, particularly for individuals living alone. He cited statistics projecting the significant growth of the older age group in both developed and developing countries. Sandbox Group aims to leverage the potential of gaming by creating high-quality games for the older population, addressing the increasing demand for engaging and beneficial digital experiences.

Accessing Games for Cognitive Well-being:

Eisenberg shared that the games developed by Sandbox Group are available on popular app stores such as the Apple App Store and Android Store. Many of the games are free with optional in-app purchases or advertisements, while some are available for a small fee. The games have garnered tens of millions of users and positive ratings, indicating their quality and appeal.

Eisenberg recommended trying the “Train Your Brain” game, which is an aggregator of multiple games designed to provide daily brain training. By incorporating such games into one’s daily routine, individuals can actively engage their minds and reap the cognitive benefits.

Embracing Gaming for Cognitive Health:

Eisenberg encouraged individuals, regardless of age, to explore the world of gaming and incorporate it into their lives. He stressed the importance of mixing activities and not becoming “zombies” consumed by a single form of entertainment, like mindless hours spent on platforms like YouTube. By diversifying one’s leisure activities and actively engaging with games that stimulate the mind, individuals can foster a healthier cognitive lifestyle.

Conclusion:

The conversation with Shan Eisenberg from Sandbox Group provided valuable insights into the relationship between gaming and cognitive health. It emphasized the role of gaming as a means to keep our minds sharp, reduce the risk of cognitive impairments, and promote a healthy aging process. Sandbox Group’s focus on creating high-quality, age-appropriate games contributes to bridging the digital divide and addressing the underserved older age segment.

Companies like Russam, which have pledged to be age-friendly, play a crucial role in promoting inclusivity and catering to the diverse needs of older individuals. By supporting the development and accessibility of gaming experiences tailored to their preferences, Russam and other companies can positively impact the well-being and cognitive health of the older generation.

As gaming continues to evolve and gain recognition for its cognitive benefits, individuals of all ages are encouraged to explore the wide range of games available, embracing the potential for improved cognitive health and an enriched lifestyle.

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