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The debate about whether video games are beneficial or harmful for the health of children is still going strong. With the stories behind games becoming more and more intricate, they enable children to immerse themselves in new worlds and interact with them on a level different from just reading. However, in a time of open aversion towards a sedentary lifestyle, it is true that video games, which usually tie the player to their seat, are frowned upon as causes for more and more inactivity with the youngest generations. However, with the development of new ways of controlling characters, specifically by motion recognition, are games becoming a fun way for people, especially children, to exercise?
Wii was first
The invention of the Nintendo Wii was definitely a breaking point in the history of console gaming. The motion detection controllers allowed a person to control a character by his/her own movements in the physical world. Nintendo developed a series of sports games designed specially to get the whole family out of their seat. Aerobics games made doing exercise at home fun and meaningful since you could compete against a virtual opponent. Finally, famous sports games like Virtua Tennis allowed the player to test his/her skills in the skin of his favorite athlete. Microsoft followed suit and created the Kinect, which did not even need the controllers Wii had, but had a set of cameras that scanned your movement and used the data to control characters in games.
With mobile devices taking the technological lead, apps that interact with the environment became more and more popular, which lead to the development of Pokemon GO, a game where you collected Pokemon in the real world mediated by the screen of your phone. Players actually had to get out and search for Pokemon if they wanted to win. However, this also caused a whole new problem of social exclusion and was flat-out dangerous for certain hard-core enthusiasts.
Full VR games
However, the popularization of virtual reality opened up a whole world of options when it comes to getting the players up and running. Players are so engaged with the virtual surroundings that they forget that they are playing a game and don’t even notice how actively they are participating. However, there are still some issues to be addressed. The mobility of the player is often limited since the virtual world can be substantially larger than the physical surroundings. If movement is simulated in the VR world, it can often cause motion sickness with players. A solution that some companies are trying out is combining regular fitness equipment, like treadmills, with VR headsets in order to make regular exercise more interesting for people. Would you give VR fitness a go?