The public and media have picked up Wii-Fit as the iconic exergame - combining video games with exercise, but has the frenzy gone too far and put people off the idea of exergaming altogether?
Video game exercise is synonymous with Nintendo in the public eye, to the point that the XaviX system was tested recently, and did rather well, but this reported as a Nintendo success by the British media. It does appear Nintendo have cast a big shadow over the entire industry, which while it started off well in raising awareness could now be a bad thing.
So, Wii Fit is released. Here is why I loved it; I bought one, used it a couple of times, sold it on eBay for way more than I paid for it - and used the proceeds of the sale to buy Super Mario Smash Bros Brawl and Mario Kart Wii, with exercise provided by my Gamercize Power Stepper. Way better games and way better exercise.
I wasn't really that keen on the Wii Fit because I found it a little boring compared with the games I could have been playing in the small time I had. There is nothing wrong with Wii Fit, if that's what you want, but do people in general really understand what it is?
How many people really buy a Wii Fit thinking they can embark on a new healthy lifestyle taking extra exercise, paying attention to what they eat and monitoring progress with Wii Fit? How many people buy Wii Fit because it's hot, its what everyone's talking about, it's hard to find and oh, it has something to do with games and fitness - that must be good, right?
When I hear that 6 of 10 people use Wii Fit once and never again, I'm not that surprised, but I am a little concerned. Nintendo have waved the banner of video games and exercise across the worlds media and then given us something that doesn't really do either very well.
My question is this. If millions have only seen exergaming as Wii Fit and the love affair ends the first time it is used; how many of these people will embrace the same idea when advertised at a fraction of Nintendo's budget and without intensive world wide press coverage?
Maybe the industry should step up and get moving towards global certification of products or be a point of reference for definition on what each product can and can't do? The trouble is the only force in the industry big enough to achieve these goals at the moment is Nintendo itself. So, how about it Mr Satoru Iwata?