New Company from Devolver Digital Co-Founder Mike Wilson & Medtech Innovator Ryan Douglas to Develop, Fund & Publish Games Fortified by Medical Science
Revealed after months of development, research, and recruiting, DeepWell Digital Therapeutics (DTx) is a first-of-its-kind video game publisher and developer dedicated to creating best-in-class gameplay that can simultaneously entertain and deliver, enhance, and accelerate treatment for an array of globally pervasive health conditions.
In short, video games with the potential to change lives that will be available worldwide to anyone with an internet connection and a desire to better themselves through the power of play.
DeepWell is the creation of Devolver Digital Co-Founder Mike Wilson and Ryan Douglas, the Founder and former CEO of international medical device company Nextern. Together, Wilson and Douglas have assembled a team of game industry experts and medical luminaries to collaborate and lead development of DeepWell’s own games, work with independent creators worldwide to publish new titles spanning every platform and genre, and open the company’s research-driven technologies to assist developers in designing and repurposing games to magnify their innate therapeutic value. DeepWell is already hard at work on a slate of DTx-enabled games that will support the company’s patented technical processes and systems.
Our medium is often harshly judged for its perceived negative impacts on the mind and body,” said DeepWell Co-Founder Mike Wilson, who has produced more than 100 games across two decades. “But the scientists who study video games, as well as the developers that build them at the highest levels, already know that the opposite is true1. DeepWell is bringing entertainment and medical science together to build upon the proven fact that video games can be good for you2 3, and, thanks to global digital distribution, they’re an important tool to make treatment affordable and accessible. Moreover, with games that are legitimately fun, patients and players will seek out their positive benefits again and again. Soon, some of the best video games in the world will be recognized for what they are – powerful medicine – and game designers will be shaping a new discipline with the potential to reach the biggest audience on the planet.
Conceived in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, DeepWell’s DTx-enabled games represent a new tool to confront the widespread crisis that continues to threaten healthcare systems around the world. As disparities in access to quality healthcare have both persisted and worsened during the course of the pandemic, so too have forecasts for the future: The United States Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) predicts that, by 2030, mental health will become the leading medical concern4, while the World Health Organization (WHO) notes that the global population of more than 1 billion people currently affected by some form of disability is on track to steadily increase in the coming years5.
In order to produce games that provide tangible results, we’ve made engaging gameplay DeepWell’s first principle, since without engagement there is no treatment potential for any therapy,” said DeepWell Co- Founder Ryan Douglas, who has overseen the design and launch of more than 20 FDA-cleared medical devices. “With our team of world-class developers at the helm, backed up by cutting-edge science and medical professionals, we’re building and repurposing games that look like, feel like, and play like pure entertainment, but that come imbued with potent digital therapeutics that align with our hardwired, neurological reward mechanisms. This is a groundbreaking moment that will bring video games and medicine together in a way that neither field has ever truly contemplated before, prioritizing a level of patient engagement that has eluded most of modern medicine.
More than 40 industry-leading creators, game designers, scientists, and medical researchers have joined DeepWell as a response to the urgent public health concerns associated with psychiatric conditions – exacerbated incalculably by the COVID-19 pandemic – and the need to expand the availability of digital health therapeutic devices to combat it. Its expert advisory board has been donating time and resources, and collaborating on defining and regulating the central tenets of therapeutic game design in order to enhance the power of interactive media for a generation to come. Game experts on the Advisory Board include well-known industry leaders, such as Tom Hall, Zoe Flower, Rami Ismail, Lorne Lanning and American McGee. Doctors and medical research experts on the board include respected figures such as Dr. Samuel Browd, Dr. Leeza Maron, Dr. Anne Marie Porter, Dr. Justin Systma, Dr. Len Hatlelid, and educator Jeff Hopkins.
DeepWell’s inaugural slate of games is expected to debut in 2023. Developers interested in partnering with DeepWell and exploring the capabilities of the company’s proprietary toolkit can contact their team directly at www.DeepWellDTx.com.
1 Wols, Aniek, et al. "In-Game Play Behaviours during an Applied Video Game for Anxiety Prevention Predict Successful Intervention Outcomes." Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, vol. 40, no. 4, 2018, pp. 655-668., https://doi.org/10.1007/s10862-018-9684-4. 2 Ruiz, Marta, et al. "Winning the Game against Depression: A Systematic Review of Video Games for the Treatment of Depressive Disorders." Current Psychiatry Reports, vol. 24, no. 1, 2022, pp. 23–35., https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-022-01314-7. 3 Fish, Matthew T., et al. "Zombies vs. Anxiety: An Augmentation Study of Prescribed Video Game Play Compared to Medication in Reducing Anxiety Symptoms." Simulation & Gaming, vol. 49, no. 5, 2018, pp. 553–566., https://doi.org/10.1177/1046878118773126. 4 https://health.gov/healthypeople/objectives-and-data/browse-objectives/mental-health-and-mental-disorders 5 https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/disability-and-health