Sunday, June 8
I have seen some pretty awful attempts to cash in on the new demand of fitness technology, with flawed exercise, appalling gameplay or graphics. What is worse is that these lesser options cost a lot more! Not so with Wii, DDR, Gamercize and Eyetoy that can all be purchased for less than two hundred pounds, including the video games console! If you are not sure how to spot a rip-off then read on... it's all about how much you are asked to pay.
I can't comment on non-video interactive gym equipment, but being in the exergame industry for 4 years, I am an expert in the field of video game exercise. My view is that exergaming is the addition of exercise to video games in order to replace sedentary video games. I also believe that exergaming should be affordable, but some companies believe exergaming is a chance to make a quick buck.
Companies take advantage of a lack of understanding to get consumers cash. I mean, advertising "video game exercise" for a product that has no "video" element is the most ridiculous marketing attempt that I have ever seen! I am not going to name and shame the companies or products you should avoid, that's not my business. What I can do is point out the strengths I see in the main four home exergame options to help you make your decision.
Price is the very best indicator of a potential rip off, take for example a metal dance mat for commercial or school use with DDR. How much would you expect to get charged? Two thousand pounds? Rip-off, try two hundred pounds!
With an eye on ongoing cost, start looking at what you need to keep your video game exercise up to date. Console based exergaming such as Gamercize and Wii are fair and reasonable, but look out for "video game" alternatives with non-standard electronics charging hundreds of pounds for a new game! Rip-off, use your own games for no premium!
Other things to look out for are charges for network connectivity, something you don't have to pay for with Wii and PlayStation and costs a nominal amount with Xbox. I have seen brand new fitness technology with subscription charges of over a hundred a month! Rip-off, try online exergaming for nothing!
As a rule, if an exergame involves a video games console, and costs less than the console itself, then you should be pretty safe. If in doubt, try it out - when unsure, don't pay more!