PowerWash Simulator Pairs Up With Oxford University On Mental Heath Study

PowerWash Simulator developer FuturLab is working with researchers at Oxford University to explore how gaming impacts mental health, designing a new Research Edition for players who want to opt-in. It's available right now on Steam as an optional beta.

The key difference in the Research Edition is that a researcher will occasionally pop by to ask you some questions in the form of a new character (as reported by NME). "They'll take you less than a couple of seconds to answer so shouldn't disrupt your game experience," the description reads. "The study questions will not be asked in challenge mode, as they would be disruptive to this mode's gameplay."

If you want to take part simply to help out with a "one-of-a-kind" research project that dives into how gaming impacts mental health, then you can, but if you want an incentive, "Rewards will be available later". All progress made in the Research Edition will count toward these cosmetic rewards that you can unlock for the base game. However, any campaign progress you make will not carry over.

You need the base PowerWash Simulator to play the Research Edition, so you can't dive in for free if you don't own a copy. That also means those playing on PC Game Pass will not be eligible unless you also buy the game on Steam. On top of this, you can't install the Research Edition and the base game's version as it's flagged as a beta, meaning you can only play one at a time.

This version will be available for "at least three months", but participants must be 18 years or older due to data protection and handling laws. On the research page, you can find a dedicated email address for the researchers if you wish to ask any questions while taking part in the study. However, all data kept is anonymous and "will be de-identified." You can find out more on the FAQ page.

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