February 20, 2020

Video-game programmers want to pump you up

Video games designed to get people moving could be the next big thing.

“Call of Duty?” More like “Call to Move Your Booty.” Exergaming isn’t a new concept, but it could become a hot segment in the video game market.

Just what are Wii talking about here?

You remember the Wii Fit. It’s only one of the best-selling video games in the US. Those of us who are a little more — ahem, seasoned — might also remember the Power Pad, a floor mat with pressure sensors that worked with the Nintendo Entertainment System. 

Now Nintendo i’s rocking bodies with Ring Fit Adventure, for the Nintendo Switch. A flexible, hoop-shaped controller monitors players’ movements as they squat and jump to defeat on-screen foes. 

One reviewer found 20 minutes of game play burned 132 calories. It won’t replace a HIIT sesh, but it ain’t nothin’.

Console-based systems aren’t the only game in town

Mobile and virtual-reality apps have changed the face of gaming, and there are plenty designed to get people moving.

  • Zombies, Run! puts runners through their paces as they run a 5K … and escape the undead. 
  • Pokémon GO uses GPS and augmented reality to send players out into the world to capture digital critters.
  • Beat Saber challenges players to slice — and sweat — to the beat in virtual reality. 

Slow and steady might win the race

Exergaming represents a small portion of a growing market.

  • 73% of Americans play video games in some form.
  • Video game sales totaled $35.4B in 2019, up 2% from 2018.
  • Fitness games account for 1% of that.

But creating fun-yet-functional games could draw in even more gamers, boosting all of those numbers.

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