The National Science Foundation (NSF) convened an international panel of experts and held a workshop to explore scientifically validated game designs that boost attention and well-being. The finding are encouraging.
They claim there is ample evidence that some types of video games enhance attention and executive control which in turn can improve self-regulation and well-being.
We also have a long-way to go before we understand how to design interactive media for specific cognitive effects. The panel cited research that showed many serious games (those designed to purposes other than education) failed to produce the desired outcomes. While at the same time some produce widespread unintended but fortunately positive effects. The panel called for more research into the cognitive impacts of specific game mechanics, a focus on social/emotional skills and individual differences as well as improved validation and commercialization methods.
The full report is worth reading for cognitive designers working on game, interactive media, self-control or well-being applications.