Games for Change will hold its 17th annual festival for the gaming and social impact community this year July 14 to July 16. The organization is based in New York but don’t rush to buy airline tickets to the event, because Games for Change2020 will be the group’s first virtual event. COVID-19 drove the group’s decision to skip a live event format this year in favor of an appropriately virtual format. The annual event draws leading gaming and impact speakers and influencers from around the world. Our greatest interest in Games for Change, as always when we write about games, is the intersect of gaming and health.

We write about games and gamification when the technology entailed helps to teach, train, diagnose, or treat patients or healthcare professionals. Recent game-related articles on Health Tech Insider include the Healthcare Games Showdown, a competition for college students to bring attention to video games in health apps. In 2018 we covered Resilience IQ (ResQ), a smartphone app that gamifies support for recovering addicts. We wrote about a video racing game interface for blind players from Columbia University gaming hardware and a squeezable game controller that helps with upper limb therapy from British startup GripAble.

Health and Wellness will be one of three programming tracks during the festival. Keynote speakers for the 17th annual event include Take This executive director Eve Crevoshay who will talk about raising awareness of mental health issues among game developers. Neuroscape founder and executive director Adam Gazzaley will explore the use of video games to understand and heal the brain. Another speaker, Brennan Spiegel, Cedars-Sinai director of Health Services Research in Academic Affairs and Clinical Transformation, will address the ways digital health technologies can improve patient-doctor bonds, improve outcomes, and save money.

Virtual attendance at Games for Change 2020 is free. Registration is open now.