Video games have always been considered the number one enemy of physical activity: they favor a comfortable, sedentary life and don’t let us want to get off the couch or stop playing.
But now things have changed: thanks to modern technology, video gaming, which was once the enemy of physical activity, has become its new “ally”.
A brief history of fitness video games
Fitness video games have revolutionized not only video gaming, making changes and introducing advanced technologies, but also fitness. This trend took off very slowly, but the change was irreversible and eventually led to the birth of home fitness and virtual trainers.
When did this love relationship between video games and fitness begin?
It was Nintendo, with the launch of Wii in 2006, that generated a slow and progressive boom of fitness video games. And it was Wii, which then evolved into Wii Fit, that first featured a remote control with infrared LEDs, a sensor bar and an accelerometer capable of perceiving acceleration, tilt and rotation in movement.
These modern peripheral devices allow to play and move around at the same time, having full control of both aspects, and this aroused not only curiosity, but also led to a great success of fitness video games.
In 2010, also Sony launched a motion-sensitive controller called Move, followed right after by Microsoft’s Kinect, introducing the possibility for users to play without wearing or holding any particular devices.
Technology and entertainment
So has training without going to the gym become possible, as well as daily adjusting and reach our goals and finding the right motivation to train: such features, for some, were previously missing without the video game aspect. In addition to this, thanks to the Internet and online communities made available by the various manufacturers, it has become possible to even challenge friends and confront each other.
The advent of virtual reality, then, has offered fitness video games a new and interesting feature, as it brings the player into the center of a completely new experience.
This combination of a surprisingly precise technology ─ which records, monitors and corrects errors ─ and the ability to entertain and involve users through a video game, is fascinating. And all this happens while training.
The response to this new trend has been surprisingly positive, to the point that new, intriguing fitness video games are continuously launched on the market and, if we had to choose one, we wouldn’t know which one to go for.
The growing popularity of zumba as a new fitness activity, for example, has been accompanied by the spread of themed video games, which we now find on top sales charts, such as Zumba Fitness.
Just Dance, which seemed to be the protagonist of a wave of transient success, continues to have many new users because, as well as being a fun dancing game that frees our mind, allows to burn up to 350 calories in an hour.
In 2004, fitness video games were once a gamble, or anyway nothing more than an interesting innovation introduced by technology, but today we can say that they have become an integral part of the lifestyle of many people, introducing a real revolution in the world of video games and fitness.