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EVE Online minigame helps with real-life medical research

EVE Online might not have the mainstream name recognition of online games like World of Warcraft or even Destiny, but it’s a hugely popular title with hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Now, that massive player base is being called upon in the name of medical science.

Developer CGP Games has announced a new addition to the game called Project Discovery. In it, players will be called upon by the in-game humanitarian faction the Sisters of EVE to play a minigame based on recognizing patterns and differences between images.

Players will receive in-game rewards and see their Project Discovery rank increase as they complete more and more tasks. At the same time, they’ll be contributing to a significant scientific research project, as the images being analyzed are high-quality scans of real human cells.

Related: EVE Online tops half a million users as it celebrates its 10th birthday

CGP Games is working in collaboration with Massively Multiplayer Online Science and Reykjavik University to help improve and expand the Human Protein Database. By introducing the minigame — and the rewards associated with it — EVE Online players are being leveraged as an enormous international research team.

Not only is this a great PR move for a game sometimes associated with large-scale griefing, but it’s seemingly been executed with a huge amount of care and consideration. The same functionality could have been shoehorned into the game in a variety of ways, but taking the time to work the research into the game’s setting speaks volumes about the developer’s attention to detail.

The Project Discovery minigame is up and running now for anyone that’s looking to help out with the research, or simply start working on their rank. While a paid subscription is required for most of the content available in EVE Online, players can access Project Discovery without paying a cent.