Monday, January 26

Making EA Sports Active on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3

Gamercize Pro-Sport is not just on the Nintendo Wii!

I've recently been putting up posts where Nintendo Wii is the console of choice for many customers using Gamercize (see How to Make Mario Kart Wii Fit). From the high profile marketing of this console in the health and fitness arena, it's not surprising that it's the console asked for the most.

What is more popular for the home market is the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of Gamercize, and this is an important market, given the rise in home fitness demand (see Home Fitness and the credit Crunch, from way back last September). These customers are using Gamercize with their existing sports titles to keep fit.

The important (unique/patented/maverick) feature of Gamercize is that all games are supported. Step or cycle and the game plays, stop moving and so does the game. It's so simple in theory and in practice it is very effective in helping you work out longer and harder.

One of the best genres of games we use to demonstrate is sports and, with kind permission, EA Sports FIFA Soccer. Now we're looking towards NBA Live as the more international choice, and the new basis for the next World Exergaming Championship. The sports genre is very useful for demonstrating Gamercize, as it is relevant in fitness and most importantly the content is acceptable to all.

What's your favorite sports title? Do you play on Xbox 360, Ps3 or Wii? Is it offline season progression, two player mode or online gaming that keeps you playing? Lastly, if you like sports in games, on TV and on the field... are you using Gamercize while playing to improve your real life performance?! Let me know!

Wednesday, January 21

Government Health Campaign Uses a New Strategy Against Obesity

Video games are the cause, but where is the exergaming response?

About a year ago I wrote about £235 million of taxpayers money that looked like it had very little to offer the modern day society. The misconception that led to this mistake was down to the fact the government doesn't know it's Xbox from it's Wii.

Now the government is spending on an awareness campaign that uses video games as an example of how not to be healthy. The commercial does not give the obvious alternative of Gamercize and exergaming as the better choices in play. Raising just the problem without the direct solution is not helpful at all.

In fact if you take a look at the commercial here:

you will notice how similar the message is to this more practical Gamercize information video (released a few months prior) that supports the concepts having exercise as an integral part of work and play:

The real irony in this government message is that private sponsors of the campaign include fizzy drink, unhealthy snack food and chocolate companies! Maybe this is why the government advert doesn't show Coca-cola, Mars, Nestle, Cadbury, Kellogg's, Kraft or PepsiCo type products?

See how many of those products you can't spot in the government's TV commercial.

This conflict of interest isn't lost on everyone, quoting this news report, Tam Fry, spokesman for the National Obesity Forum and the Child Growth Foundation, calls them out:

"We fervently hope that Change4Life will succeed where
other department campaigns have failed.

Our optimism will be tempered until we see whether the food, advertising and fitness industries really do deliver the promised goods. We are tempted to think that the former two are donating millions of pounds to Government as a way of heading it off from imposing the regulation it fears.

Legislation on the way food is processed and advertised should have come in two years ago."

It is at this point that the campaign starts to lose credibility and fails as an intervention, by being controlled by spin doctors instead of medical doctors, directed by PR executives instead of research experts.

Despite the problems, conflict of interests and lack of practical advice, Change4Life is a sign of progress in the government's understanding of the modern lifestyle. Maybe next year this understanding will have caught up some more and exergaming will be on the table as a suggestion of activity.

For now, we follow the government advice - which play more Frisbee in the (presumably new) park! Great fun during the summer but consider it gets dark late afternoon at this time of year. Night Frisbee in the sub zero temperatures just doesn't do it for me - I'm off to play the PS3 with Gamercize, see you online!

Saturday, January 17

The $21 Billion Dollar Answer

How to Keep Exergaming Interesting

Among the exergaming fraternity there is a common problem; How can we keep exergaming fun and interesting for long enough for the activity to be effective? It's a problem for exergaming in general, but not for Gamercize.

I'm still unsure of what the answer is for other exergaming equipment. May be there is no answer for them? I really don't think a game controlled by exercise will ever be as appealing as the latest console titles. I think the lack of control makes fitness games frustrating, the exercise is distracting and I just don't want to play the same old game over and over.

Gamercize, on the other hand, delivers exergaming in a totally opposite way; We leave full control with the player, hide the exercise effort and support the latest titles. I know this answer to "how to keep exergaming interesting" is the right one.

As an example, take the game Halo 3, which is fully supported by Gamercize. The statistics speak for themselves. On launch day of Halo 3, there were 2.4 million matches played online. That was in September 2007. Yesterday, January 2009, 16 months on, the number of matches played online was 2.1 million. That's the sustainable element you don't get with fitness games that you do get with Gamercize. By the way, when Halo 4 comes out, Gamercize will support that too.

I think the only way to make exergaming engaging is to join forces with the video game industry, which last year was sized at $21 billion in the US - four times larger than the fitness industry. Gamercize joins forces with the video game industry, every console and any game are supported. Games are more fun than exercise, maybe the word "exergaming" puts the wrong part first? I know which is the right way round, and what should come first.

If you need any more proof of the gaming power behind Gamercize, then here is my all time favorite YouTube video to explain, in song:

Tuesday, January 13

World Exergaming Championships

Active Gaming Competition with Gamercize.

Here is a quick reminder of the "first" we achieved using Gamercize last year - the first ever international exergame tournament. This playlist of three videos gives an introduction to both UK and USA teams, plus the live TV coverage of the event.

For 2009 year we are starting to put together teams from more countries, with more players with more fun and definitely more fitness!

Very soon we'll be facilitating tournament practice using NBA Live '09 on Xbox 360 and the Gamercize Power Stepper. Check back for more details on practice and the dates for the 2nd ever international exergame tournament - where Team England will be putting the title on the line!

Get practicing - see you online!

Tuesday, January 6

Everything to get Exergaming

Starting exergaming in the USA!

If you don't know where to start with exergaming, then this starter pack from Gopher Sport is just for you. It includes everything you need to get your kids moving in one easy package.

For less than $800 you get the choice of either two Power Steppers or two Endurance Cycles. Also included is the PlayStation and three top sports titles, there's no better choice or value to get moving in 2009!

Includes PlayStation®2 game console, 2 Gamercize® Steppers or Cycles, PS2 FIFA Soccer 2009, PS2 Athens Summer Olympics, and PS2 Madden 2009 games.

Get over to Gopher here and order yours today!