Friday, August 1

The Future of Exergaming

A Reality Check on Active Gaming.

There are more exergaming profiteers than experts and I'm sure you'll get a different view from both camps. I wince every time I see the total at the gas pump, so I'm certainly not in the former group!

As technology improves there is an increase in the application of video game technology, as a replacement of traditional sports and exercise. The virtual jogging, tennis, video game racing bikes and full motion simulators are good examples of these. What do these virtual reality exergames add compared with actually getting outside and experiencing sport and exercise for real?

A few reports have surfaced in the media recently that show I'm not alone in thinking real is best, and a few studies have been completed that even question the exercise benefits of virtual approach. For sure there is a place in nursing homes and rehab for some of this technology, but that is because the patients simply are not able to "Just Do It" for real.

I think there is diminishing future in the approach of taking participation away from sport and exercise to be replaced by exergames. My view has always been the approach that exergaming should add, not take away. This is why Gamercize adds exercise to existing video games and why we create new sports that are impractical to replicate in the real world.

I have estimates that, in the last six years, we have hit a grand total of 1,000,000 hours of sedentary video gaming. Can anyone really argue that real tennis, biking and jogging should be replaced by less healthy electronic alternatives? Can anyone really argue against adding fitness to these million hours of gaming instead?

I think the future of exergaming is to fix that one sedentary issue of gaming, and not in poor copies of real sports and exercise.

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