In some games, you solve puzzles. In others, you try to wipe out enemy forces. But a new offering from Seattle’s Mindbloom has a deeper, more spiritual purpose. It wants to help you improve your life, nurturing a virtual tree by engaging in positive behavior related to health, exercise, relationships and finances.
Tasks in the Mindbloom game — known as “daily actions” — include asking family members about their day; completing jumping jacks; smiling at a stranger; taking the stairs at work; practicing the guitar; and dozens of other actions. Users can track their progress — shown as a virtual tree — through a mobile app or via the Web.
By accomplishing specific goals, users earn “seeds” which they can use to expand image galleries or receive other benefits.
Co-founder Chris Hewett calls Mindbloom a “social life game focused on health and wellness.” About 15,000 beta testers have been playing the game for the past year, nurturing their very own life trees. But the game is officially being rolled out today, utilizing game mechanics to encourage people to improve their lives in new ways.
The company is adding features so that users can earn points for simply reading inspirational quotes or viewing motivational photos in the app.
“It really allows users to paint a picture of the life they want, and even for a minute a day when they watch the inspiration, they actually get sun points that feeds their tree and keeps their tree healthy and green,” said Hewett, a former executive producer at Monolith Productions who ironically once worked on the video game No One Lives Forever.
“We recognize that people are extremely busy, but we also know that there are millions of people out there wanting to improve their lives,” he said.
The partnership with Aetna could help accelerate adoption of the service. In fact, Mindbloom is targeting its offering at corporations who are trying to help employees live healthier lives, with Aetna committed to rolling the service out to its members.
Co-founder Brent Poole, a former Amazon employee, said that the partnership with Aetna provides a huge distribution channel.
“With Aetna and its 36 million members, this is going to take off like a rocket,” he said.
“The interest for us is on multiple levels, but it is really trying to address the engagement gap that is out there,” said Brestek.
The Mindbloom consumer offering is free, but players can unlock additional features and services for $34 per year or via an $89 lifetime membership. For employers, it typically costs about 10 cents to 50 cents per employee per month, said Poole.
Online health and wellness programs are extremely hot right now, highlighted by the fact that several Seattle area startups such as Limeade, Habit Labs and EveryMove are attacking the market. Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong initiative also is a significant player in the space, though Hewett said the non-profit focuses more on fitness and nutrition.
Mindbloom, which employs 11 people, has raised about $1.8 million to date from angel investors.
Here’s a closer look at the app, which allows users to track their progress via the Internet, Android or iPhone.