Why exergames are a huge part of the future
And how dotmoovs is taking the lead
Exercise. Games. Exergames.
Do we need to explain further? Well, we’re doing it anyway. Exergames are any form of video game that utilises technology (including but not limited to actual hardware, such as peripherals for a computer or a gaming console) to track your physical movements and body performance.
It’s video games, but you have to MOOV (see what we did here?). The idea behind them is to introduce physical exercise into gaming, thus combatting the idea of gaming as a sedentary activity.
They’ve been around for longer than you think
Odds are you immediately think of Wii Fit when we speak of exergames. Alongside Wii Sports, they are probably the most popular and better known examples of this kind of game. Maybe there will be some readers out there who will think of Dance Dance Revolution or other arcade games of the sort as an earlier example.
What if we told you that there had been exergames around for 25 years when Wii Fit came out?
The first commercial example of this was the Joyboard, a peripheral released in 1982 for the Atari 2600. It didn’t do much. All you could do was stand on it and… well… lean. Depending on the direction you leaned towards, it would function as a sort of joystick.
Exergames never left
While exergaming never exactly reached the mainstream, and while it certainly was never massively popular even among gamers, there was always a demand for it. Games companies have produced every kind of peripheral to allow people to exercise, ranging from the HighCycle in the ’80s to the Gamercize for the PlayStation 2.
There has always been heavy investment in peripherals and equipment, but not limited to that.
One of the most interesting trends of exergaming has been related to VR (Virtual Reality). It’s probably become clear by now that one of the more important issues commanding development of this kind of games has been attempting to provide gamers with a realistic simulation of real-world exercises. Perhaps the most remarkable example of this is the medical application of exergames to get people who can’t or won’t exercise normally to achieve the recommended levels of physical activity.
Exergames and learning are deeply related
Game-based learning has been an area of academic interest for a while now, and exergames are definitely an important part of that. Exergames provide different opportunities for game based learning, with many games actually including in-game learning organically. Games like Your Shape: Fitness Evolved will directly provide relevant health and fitness tips while the user is waiting for the game to load. Kinect Sports: Season Two will explain the basic rules of specific sports (e.g. golf, baseball, darts, tennis).
One could use these games to create a meta game for learning specific, further in depth rules of a sport, championship rules, or other interdisciplinary learning.
Which means the future is bright for exergames. The potential for them is just getting tapped.
We are interested in the future of exergames
By now, you’re probably wondering when dotmoovs will enter this story.
As per usual, looking forwards.
Artificial intelligence is still barely used at all for exergames, which still rely mostly on hardware to measure performance. There are exceptions, of course, such as games that rely on Microsoft’s Kinect, but they are few, far between, and relatively primitive.
The AI dotmoovs is developing, on the other hand, is capable of measuring human performance to a high degree.
We have written recently about how AI could completely revolutionise the way sports are refereed by using technology to analyse what’s happening on the pitch/court/etc. That very same technology can be used at home, to read the movements and performance of gamers engaging in exercise.
Almost every single one of the dozens of exergames that have been released in the last 40 years could be redrawn to utilise AI instead of physical hardware with better accuracy, better efficiency, and no need to purchase extra gear (maybe not the exercise bike, we’ll accept AI probably can’t simulate an exercise bike).
These are the kinds of challenges that drive us to push forward. To invent and innovate.
It’s the beginning of something much larger.