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how one startup is reimagining mobile gameplay as a healing activity – TechCrunch

how one startup is reimagining mobile gameplay as a healing activity – TechCrunch

Mobile well-being apps were on track to top a billion downloads last year, while leading meditation app Calm alone pulled in $118.2 million in revenue, data from Sensor Tower indicates. That may leave some to believe the digital well-being market is essentially solved, but a new startup, Lumi Interactive, believes the opposite is true. The Melbourne-based, women-led company has identified a under-explored niche in the mobile market which involves translating offline, self-care activities into games as a means of reducing our collective stress and anxiety.

While most mobile games focus on having users compete against one another or achieve some sort of goal, the startup’s forthcoming title, Kinder World’s main aim is to help users relax. It accomplishes this through short, snack-sized sessions where it asks players to care for virtual houseplants by taking care of themselves in the real world.

In the game, players are encouraged to perform simple acts of kindness — like practicing daily gratitude, for example — in order to improve their own well-being and that of the game’s wider community. The game features a variety of non-stressful activities — like watering houseplants, interacting with animal neighbors, and decorating a cozy room with plants, among other things.

Image Credits: Lumi Interactive

In some ways, this recalls how many of us spent months in creative play during the height of the pandemic engaged with games like Animal Crossing, the popular Nintendo game whose pressure-free environment helped many relax and pass the time under Covid-19 lockdowns. In Animal Crossing, players designed indoor and outdoor spaces, shopped for outfits and home accessories, planted flowers, and chit-chatted with animal pals.

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