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NatWest launches ‘Island Saver’ as new research shows video games help to educate children

New research from NatWest shows the emergence of ‘game-ducation’, as video games are now seen as effective tools for educating children on certain subjects.

The research, which surveyed UK parents and their children aged 7 – 14 years old, comes at a time when parents are home-schooling due to the lockdown, with two thirds (66%) balancing this alongside their regular job. Nearly two thirds (65%) of parents admit they’ve found the teaching difficult. 

Thinking about the way their children learn, two thirds (68%) of UK parents believe educational video games provide an opportunity to learn in a fun and engaging way. 85% of parents say video games develop their child’s problem solving – which they identify as the most important skill for their child’s future careers. In addition, 70% of parents believe video games improve children’s knowledge in technology, while engineering and maths also benefit (53% and 53% respectively).

NatWest has seen a significant rise in demand for its own educational resources since the schools closed; Page views to its MoneySense website increased by 258% during the first month of the closures.

NatWest launches Island Saver

On the back of this research, NatWest has announced the launch of Island Saver, its first ever educational video game which harnesses children’s enthusiasm for video games as an opportunity to teach them about money management.

Island Saver has been created in partnership with renowned independent games maker Stormcloud Games and launches on 13th May 2020 on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam for PC.

Kirsty Britz, Director of Sustainable Banking at NatWest, commented: “We have always looked for new ways to teach children about money, and so creating our first ever video game aims to engage them through a medium they already enjoy. This research highlights what we have always believed – educational video games can be a fun activity for children and a useful resource for parents, bringing together the whole family to learn something new.

“With so many households staying safe at home, we are pleased to support families across the country with our existing MoneySense resources and now with the release of our first ever video game, Island Saver.”

The game is an open world, non-violent first-person format game, set on the idyllic Savvy Islands with an array of environments to explore. Made of up different eco systems, including a jungle, beach and desert, players are armed with a ‘trash blaster’; a powerful suction tool, and are tasked with cleaning up the island of litterbugs that have polluted the paradise.

Woven into the gameplay are a series of money learning points. These range from a simple ‘work to earn’ as characters earn coins by cleaning up litter, to saving money in bank accounts. As players progress through the game they will also be introduced to the more advanced elements of good money management including paying tax to maintain the idyllic Island setting, borrowing money, and even elements of foreign exchange.

Kevin Hanley, NatWest’s Director of Innovation, added: “Island Saver continues the bank’s long tradition of innovation and partnership, bringing the best in the gaming industry together with the best of the bank to create a distinctive game that will educate children as well as entertain. As a leading learning organisation, we are committed to helping people of all ages improve their financial confidence, literacy and wellbeing. It’s exciting to be part of something like Island Saver where we can make a positive impact on children’s learning and development as they start to think about money and why it matters for the very first time.”

Find out more about Island Saver.

Note - research was conducted by Censuswide between 30.04.20 – 06.05.2020, with a sample of 2,020 respondents in total consisting of 1,010 parents of children aged 7-14, and 1,010 children of those parents aged 7-14.
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