Beyond Entertainment: The Transformative Power of Video Games profiles 11 Canadian organizations who have embraced video games and related technology to develop innovative solutions within their communities to benefit health, education, and community connection, as well as to improve industrial processes.


Video games are creating new opportunities to make rehabilitation and healthy aging accessible and engaging. Organizations like Ludica Health and Virtual Gym have respectively developed motion-sensing technology and virtual reality environments to provide rehabilitation exercises to adults and seniors, while PEARL Lab is harnessing movement tracking and gamification principles to provide paediatric rehabilitation therapy. These organizations are revolutionizing the way physical therapy is provided and are in the process of developing games that can move from specialized institutions into patient’s homes.

Mental health

A recent ESAC survey found that 76% of respondents reported that playing video games helped them feel less stressed, and 63% reported that it helped with anxiety.  These potential benefits are being explored further in professional settings, with video games being leveraged as therapeutic tools with both children and adults. The intersection of video games and mental health has led to the emergence of initiatives like the Games for Emotional and Mental Health Lab (GEMH Lab) and Ludic Mind. Through carefully designed experiences, these games act as interventions that help children manage stress, anxiety, and other emotional challenges that work to create positive long-term outcomes.


Through their engaging and interactive nature, video games can provide customized learning environments that improve student engagement and lessen resistance to traditional educational approaches. Prodigy Education has revolutionized the learning experience by seamlessly integrating mathematical concepts into an engaging online world, while Shoelace Learning provides an adaptative literacy learning game to help students master reading comprehension skills. Video games can also be used to explore career options. DigiBC’s Play to Learn works to inspire and empower middle school students through an interactive program to learn more about STEM careers.


Video games can be a powerful community-building tool, with 70% of Canadian video game players reporting that they’ve met new friends through video games. For indigenous communities like York Landing, online games have become a vehicle to address challenges experienced in classrooms. The Manitoba First Nations Educational Resource Center has brought esports into reserve schools, with participating schools reporting a range of positive outcomes among students, including higher class attendance, a stronger sense of belonging, and improved self-worth. This is particularly important in remote Northern communities, where the platforms can help to overcome loneliness and social isolation.


Video game technology can also reshape the future of industrial processes. Companies like Unity Technologies provide game development tools that are not only used for entertainment purposes but also serve as a foundation for creating immersive simulations and virtual environments.  Prototype development and virtual testing within a game engine can save precious capital and development time by allowing companies to rapidly pivot during a design process.