PowerWash Simulator developer FuturLab has launched a new initiative that'll enable players to opt-in and help independent researchers from Oxford University's Internet Institute gather data for its research on gaming and mental health.
From today, Steam players that select the 'research-edition – Research Edition 2022' drop-down option under PowerWash Simulator's Properties > Betas menu will gain access to what FuturLab calls a "one-of-a-kind anonymous research study centered around the well-being of PowerWash Simulator's players [that] also aims to deliver insights into the larger discourse of gaming and mental health."
FuturLab says two types of anonymous, de-identified data will be collected from players that opt-in to the PowerWash Simulator's Research Edition: 'base telemetry', which includes player progress and other general gameplay activities that'll be provided to the researchers for analysis, plus a second type made up of responses given directly to researchers by players.
This second set of data will be gathered via a new in-game character specific to PowerWash Simulator's Research Edition, through which researches can periodically contact players to ask "extremely short" questions about their experience. Players also have the option to provide researchers with feedback via the 'Tell us how you feel' button, which can be used once every 30 minutes.
While answering is optional, doing so will provide progress toward unlocking special cosmetic rewards that can be used outside the Research Edition.
FuturLab warns that campaign progress won't be carried over between the main game and the Research Edition, and notes that certain features - namely multiplayer and non-English-language support - will be disabled. Additionally, although Challenge mode remains available, study questions won't be asked here "as they would be disruptive to this mode's gameplay."
Anyone interested in participating can find more detailed information on PowerWash Simulator's Research Edition over on Steam.