Sea Hero Quest
The world’s first mobile game where anyone can help scientists fight dementia.
Dementia is destroying that belief. It is the next global health crisis; currently affecting 47.5 million people worldwide and that number is set to almost triple by 2050.

Traditional dementia research was limited by access to participants. Our approach was to revolutionize the way research data was collected by getting people to volunteer information and time. The insight that people on average spend 3 billion hours a week playing games, increasingly on mobile platforms, meant that a mobile game was the natural solution to our problem.

To be successful we had to ensure that the science and the gaming were seamlessly integrated. One of the most noticeable early cognitive functions that dementia sufferers lose is navigational skill – which is also a popular game genre.

We created a mobile game that challenges and records navigational skills of players around the world, and in doing so creates a human benchmark for spatial navigation, against which dementia could be measured in the future.

Deutsche Telekom pulled together researchers and gaming experts to create a game big enough to make a dent in dementia. A collaboration that saw Deutsche Telekom learn about medical research and University College London neuroscientists and Alzheimer’s Research learn about gaming.

To ensure that players were engaged we created a story about a father & son which players follow by retracing the Sea Hero father’s adventures by navigating your boat through five different themed areas. This simple but powerful tale of a son trying to save his father’s memories is the metaphor for what people are doing by playing the game. Sea Hero Quest: the only game where anyone can help scientists fight dementia.

In less than 24 hours following global launch, primarily driven by PR, the game was downloaded over 100,000 times – already reaching the end of year target, and picked up by over 400 media outlets worldwide. We then used media and an influencer partnership with PewDiePie, reaching 3.2 million views in 24 hours.

Since launch, the game has been downloaded over 2.7 million times, and after playing a combined total of 72 years, players generated the equivalent of 10,000 years’ worth of similar, lab-based research - at a rate of 150 times faster. The largest previous study into dementia reached only 599 participants.

The anonymous data are hosted on an agile secure environment of T-Systems in Germany. This ensures the data will be highly protected under the directive of the German data protection law.

The first groundbreaking results are available and over the next 2 years, Deutsche Telekom will be supporting a team at UCL for further analyses to ensure maximum use to the global scientific community.

Averaging 4.8 stars across both app stores with more than 91,000 ratings, the response has been overwhelming. Thousands of people left reviews, all sharing a common sentiment: they loved gaming with a purpose.

More info on the SeaHeroQuest website
Android, BlackBerry, iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Windows Mobile, Qt, Windows Phone, HTML5, SMS, Windows 8
  • free - 0
Health, Games, Education
  • dementia_research, gameforgood, Sea_hero_quest; dementia, deutsche_telekom, research, fight_dementia, big_data, cloud, appagile, digitalization, game, app, Telekom_healthcare_solutions, axel_wehmeier
Target Users
  • Everyone
Available in the following app stores
Google Play, Blackberry App World, iTunes, LG Application Store, Opera Mobile Store, Samsung Applications Store, Windows Phone Apps, Windows Store
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