Massively Multiplayer Online Science approaches half a billion classifications across all projects, proving video game communities are a valuable resource for scientific research at scale
Reykjavík, Iceland – May 18, 2021 – Today, CCP Games and Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS) are delighted to announce that Project Discovery is the People’s Voice Winner in the Games: Public Service, Activism, and Social Impact category of the 25th Annual Webby Awards in recognition for its contributions to COVID-19 research. MMOS also revealed that it has recorded close to half a billion classifications across all its projects in the last five years, including multiple iterations of Project Discovery.
Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international awards organization honoring excellence on the Internet.
Project Discovery is a groundbreaking citizen science mini-game in EVE Online, allowing players to contribute to scientific breakthroughs in between exploring systems, mining resources, and waging cosmic warfare. Since last June, 327,000 EVE Online players made over 115 million data submissions, saving scientists over 330 years of research to understand how COVID-19 affects blood cells and the human immune system.
Created in partnership with MMOS, McGill University, UNIMORE, BC Cancer, and front-line COVID-19 clinicians, the COVID-19 phase of Project Discovery is a mini-game in EVE Online that lets players process flow cytometry data by grouping cell populations present in blood with a tracing tool. This helps scientists learn how different cell populations and types are altered through infection, and players are offered in-game rewards for participating.
“What a great testament to EVE players’ contribution to science. Through Project Discovery, Capsuleers have made a real dent in the scientific landscape, from the first ‘fictional’ cover on a major scientific journal to new discoveries to saving scientists precious years by training algorithms,” says Bergur Finnbogason, Creative Director for EVE Online. “I truly hope this Webby will inspire others to find even more creative ways to help contribute to science.”
“When we started to pioneer this novel way of collaboration between science and videogames six years ago, winning a Webby Award was way beyond our wildest dreams,” said MMOS CEO and co-founder, Attila Szantner. “This recognition not only reassures us that we are on the right track but hopefully will convince many more game developers to join our ranks to help advance science.”
MMOS’ game-changing citizen science approach was showcased in the latest episode of the docuseries, Off the Cuff. Hosted by Chris Parr and Harris Dirberger, Off the Cuff explores the world’s most fascinating communities, and their look into MMOS examines “How Gamers are Changing the World with Citizen Science.”
“As professional scientists, we have a moral duty to communicate to the public the motivations, principles, and outcomes of our research. This award is a fantastic milestone,” says Jérôme Waldispühl, Associate Professor of Computer Science at McGill University. “It demonstrates that video games can have a unique role in our society, allowing science to reach out to the broadest audience and contribute to building a more cohesive and knowledgeable society.”
“Performing deep immunological analysis of human cells requires not only sophisticated and complex technologies but also potent bioinformatic tools,” says Dr. Andrea Cossarizza, Professor of Pathology and Immunology at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. “Project Discovery is a fantastic example of how gamers are helping the advancement of science and medicine, for improving the health of all human beings. It serves as a framework for machine learning and artificial intelligence and is key for developing novel methodologies for identifying millions of different populations of immune cells almost in real-time.”
“Anything we can do to help the lay public understand science, the process and rigor that goes into how discoveries are made, helps push back against some of the misconceptions that exist,” says Dr. Ryan Brinkman, Professor in Medical Genetics, the University of British Columbia, Distinguished Scientist at BC Cancer, Managing Director at Cytapex Bioinformatics. “Doing so in a way that not only informs but also engages the public is already fantastic, but doing so in a way where they directly contribute to research in a meaningful way lifts up everyone.”
Project Discovery continues as the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic. Anyone can download EVE Online and sign up for an account to play the cell graph mapping mini-game and contribute to this research initiative by visiting www.eveonline.com.
Past versions of Project Discovery have helped scientists locate exoplanets outside of our solar system and contributed human cell classifications to the Human Protein Atlas. MMOS has also created citizen science projects alongside other game developers, like Gearbox Software’s Borderlands Science, to advance research in other key fields of study that require analysis of large datasets.
About EVE Online®
EVE Online (PC/Mac) is a compelling, community-driven sci-fi MMO game where players can build and pilot a wide variety of spaceships, traversing vast solar systems for free and choosing their own path from countless options, experiencing space exploration, immense PvP and PvE battles, mining, industry and a sophisticated player economy in an ever-expanding sandbox. EVE is a captivating game in which hundreds of thousands of players compete for riches, power, glory and adventure, forging their own destinies in a single thriving universe. For more information, visit www.eveonline.com.
CCP is a leading independent game developer that has been praised for its artistry, technology and game design that facilitates emergent behavior, empowering players with compelling means of self-expression. Founded in 1997 on the principle of pushing the envelope and breaking new ground on all levels, CCP is on a mission to create virtual worlds more meaningful than real life. With the launch of EVE Online in May 2003, CCP established itself as a pioneer of cutting edge massively multiplayer games, winning numerous awards and receiving critical acclaim worldwide. CCP is headquartered in Reykjavik, Iceland, and has additional studios in London and Shanghai. For more information, visit www.ccpgames.com.
Massively Multiplayer Online Science (MMOS) is a Swiss start-up bringing innovation to citizen science and gaming by introducing citizen science micro-tasks in major video games. Past projects include the award-winning previous editions of Project Discovery in EVE Online and Borderlands Science in Borderlands 3. These science mini-games engaged over 3 million players and contributed with close to half a billion of player submissions to advance science. For more information visit www.mmos.ch.
About McGill University
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, in 1821, McGill University is Canada’s top-ranked medical doctoral university. McGill is consistently ranked as one of the top universities, both nationally and internationally. It is a world-renowned institution of higher learning with research activities spanning two campuses, 11 faculties, 13 professional schools, 300 programs of study and over 40,000 students, including more than 10,200 graduate students. McGill attracts students from over 150 countries around the world, its 12,800 international students making up 31% of the student body. Over half of McGill students claim a first language other than English, including approximately 19% of our students who say French is their mother tongue.
About The University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (UNIMORE)
UNIMORE has a longstanding tradition (it was founded in 1175) and is considered one of the best universities in Italy for teaching and research. UNIMORE offers a wide range of degree programmes at all levels in most disciplinary areas, from the humanities and social sciences to engineering and technology, and from physical and natural sciences to life science and medicine, and has over 300 international exchange agreements and cooperation programs. UNIMORE is located in important cities of art and culture, in the heart of one of Europe’s wealthiest and most dynamic regions, which is world-renowned for its production of mechanical parts, engines, sports cars (e.g. Ferrari and Maserati) as well as for its agro-food sector (balsamic vinegar), ceramic tiles and manufacturing industries. The School of Medicine has several research and clinical centres of excellence and is considered one of the best in the country.
BC Cancer’s vision is a world free from cancer, and its mandate covers the full spectrum of cancer care from prevention, screening, diagnosis and treatment, to research and education, to supportive and palliative care.
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