Ubisoft's Prescription-Only Games Get Closer To Release
"We're proud to be involved in such a positive illustration of the impact of video game technology."
Ubisoft is working with medical company Amblyotech and researchers from McGill University on therapeutic video games designed to treat Amblyopia, which is also known as "lazy eye." When this seemingly unlikely partnership was announced in 2015, Amblyotech said the next step was to seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration to offer the games, Dig Rush and Monster Burner, to people by a physician's prescription. Now, that has happened.
Ubisoft announced today that Amblyotech has filed the necessary paperwork with the FDA for its Amblyopad device, which is incorporated into Dig Rush and Monster Burner.
"The development of Dig Rush and Monster Burner was a great opportunity for us to contribute our knowledge and skills in video game development to help materialize a breakthrough medical treatment," Ubisoft senior producer Mathiew Ferland said in a statement. "The team from Ubisoft Montreal has been able to create a more engaging and enjoyable experience for patients being treated for amblyopia, and we're proud to be involved in such a positive illustration of the impact of video game technology."
McGill research and innovation vice principal Rosie Goldstein added: "McGill University has a proud history of innovation and product development in numerous fields, especially in the life sciences. It is our pleasure to see one of our invented technologies take the next step to commercialization."
The Amblyopad devices will come pre-loaded with Dig Rush and Monster Burner. Patients will be asked to play about an hour per day for 4-6 weeks to see lasting results. Data from the game is measured in real time and sent to a doctor to ensure patients are following their prescription.
Around 9 million people in the United States are affected by Amblyopia, making it the number one cause of monocular blindness, according to representatives from Amblyotech. For the past two hundred years, one of the leading treatments for children affected with Amblyopia was to have them wear an eyepatch over their strong eye to stimulate better vision in the weaker one.
However, this form of "patching" therapy is not ideal, according to Ubisoft and Amblyotech.
"While current treatment options, such as eye patching, provide limited relief and have poor patient compliance due to discomfort and social stigmas, the Amblyotech-patented electronic therapy has been tested clinically to significantly increase the visual acuity of both children and adults who suffer from this condition without the use of an eye patch," Amblyotech CEO Joseph Koziak said. "With our agreement with Ubisoft, we are further able to provide physicians with a complete and accurate picture of treatment compliance to help them monitor patient progress throughout therapy."
Check out GameSpot's previous coverage to learn more about Ubisoft's partnership with Amblyotech.