Mindbloom, With New Social Game, Finds Niche in Health, Wellness, and “Gamification” of the Web

6/11/10Follow @gthuang

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successful in my career without giving up everything else. Even if I only spent 5 minutes a day practicing the guitar, only doing one set of pushups, and spending 30 minutes playing with my newborn son, I knew that I was taking a big step toward making my entire life a priority.

In the end, not only had I let go of my fear of failure, but I’d also produced the best selling game of our company’s history, F.E.A.R. (funny coincidence). More importantly, I proved to myself that it is possible to live a healthy, balanced, and meaningful life while also being successful as a full-time professional and parent. This experience inspired me to leave the game company and leverage my experience in developing interactive entertainment and my passion for personal development to create Mindbloom—a social game that inspires and motivates people to live healthy, balanced, and meaningful lives.

What makes Mindbloom unique is the game’s focus on improving the quality of a player’s entire life. Other “lifestyle” games or “real world” games, like Wii Fit, BrainAge, Nike+, or Foursquare are focused on one aspect of our lives.

X: How does your revenue model work?

CH: We currently offer a subscription for a professional version of Mindbloom that enables users to add additional branches, leaves, and actions to their tree without having to earn them. This is especially useful for people that are able to self-manage their activities and know how to not overload themselves. The professional version also works well for people who are working coaches, where the coach is helping them manage their goals and actions.

However, subscriptions is only a small portion of our revenue model. We are beginning to work with key sponsors to provide premium content and features to our users. Finally, we are licensing our social game platform to other partners/organizations who have the ability to customize the Mindbloom experience with their own content and can deliver the game from within their own website.

X: How have you addressed the funding and labor challenges of getting the company off the ground?

CH: When potential investors and/or employees see our vision for Mindbloom, they fall in love with it. They see Mindbloom as not only being cutting-edge as an “experiential” Web application, but they see that the existing team have a LOT of passion around wanting to see people living a better quality life, starting with our own!

X: Can you talk about where Mindbloom fits with the broader trends around virtual currencies, health and wellness sites, and “gamification” of the Web?

CH: With the explosion of the casual/social game market we see that “gamers” aren’t just teenage boys playing Call of Duty or World of Warcraft, but they are surprisingly mostly women between the ages of 30-50. Farmville is a great example of this. The average age of a Farmville user is 43 and more likely to be a woman. In fact, according to CNN, the ratio of women to men playing Farmville is 60:40.

What well-designed games do that keeps people coming back is that they satisfy the human psychological need to feel “competent.” We may not have control of everything at work or home, but … Next Page »

Gregory T. Huang is Xconomy's Deputy Editor, National IT Editor, and the Editor of Xconomy Boston. You can e-mail him at gthuang@xconomy.com or call him at 617-252-7323. Follow @gthuang

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