Friday, May 23

Making Exergaming Sustainable for All

Fitness Gaming Shelved as Gimmicks Lose Their Appeal!

I have talked about exergaming accessibility, and showed how Gamercize does not alienate users based on physical ability where effort based exergames can. I also touched very briefly in that post on another ingredient of the magic formula for exergaming - sustainability.

It is hard for some people to understand Gamercize sometimes – “Where’s the game that comes with it?” they say. “We don’t have a game; if we did it would lose appeal over time while the latest hot release takes over.” I say. The blank look tells me this person clearly doesn’t understand how people are engaged by video games.

If they cannot grasp the fundamentals of video gaming, how can they make good choices, especially if they are the person responsible for delivering sustainable fitness and value? Well, initially they can’t make a good choice and prefer gimmicks with single dimension games. These pieces of equipment are hopeless as a capital investment in their own right and likely to lose appeal and become unused. I have seen it happen with non-Gamercize equipment.

It takes a while to find a parallel they can understand before they realise that not having a game for Gamercize is actually far better than it being a one trick pony. Examples of latest is greatest in technological terms are easy to find, but sometimes the best way of explaining the Gamercize concept is how children play with toys.

Have you ever noticed how kids always play with the new toys they have, and don’t play with last years toys? Sure there may be an old favourite toy, but the new stuff gets the majority of the attention. After all, if one set of toys was enough then birthday presents would never be given! If you want sustainable exergaming it must change to remain interesting.

If exercise is based on a single dimension game, then the only way to maintain interest would be to buy more equipment based on a different type of single dimension game. This will be a very expensive form of sustainability. “Would it actually be far cheaper to just change the game and not the entire machine” people argue? Yep, that’s Gamercize I say, and slowly they understand!

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