Videogames delivering workouts along with fun

Jun 05, 2009 by Glenn Chapman
The Sony Playstation booth at the Electronic and Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California. The key gaming event that wrapped up on Thursday has seen new technology that aims to coax videogame-lovers off their couches as the industry sprints ahead with a trend toward fitness titles and motion-sensing controllers.

Videogame lovers are being coaxed off couches as the industry sprints ahead with a trend toward fitness titles and motion-sensing controllers.

The premier (E3) that wrapped in Los Angeles on Thursday was rife with exercise, sports, and dance videogames that people play by moving their bodies instead of just their thumbs.

"A really exciting trend is publishers getting people off the couch and moving," said Scott Steinberg of videogame and gadget website Digital Trends.

"Videogaming doesn't always add pounds. It can burn calories instead."

Analysts credit Nintendo with revolutionizing the way videogames are played with the release in 2006 of consoles with motion-sensing controllers.

Traditional controllers on consoles such as Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's feature toggles and buttons players manipulate to dictate actions of videogame characters.

About a year ago, Nintendo introduced a "Wii Fit" exercise videogame with a controller shaped like a bathroom scale that senses the weight, balance and shift of pressure made by players.

The game has become a top seller worldwide, according to Nintendo.

Other videogame makers including US titan Electronic Arts and France-based Ubisoft have crafted workout titles of their own for Wii consoles and Nintendo will soon release an enhanced "Wii Fit Plus" videogame.

"It's been refreshing and motivating to be recognized for getting people off the couch and getting some exercise," EA sports president Peter Moore said while showing off new titles at E3.

Analysts point out that exercise videogames aren't the only titles getting players moving.

Ubisoft's "Red Steel" franchise that launched with the Wii is a pioneer on a growing list of videogames that use the consoles' wand-shaped motion-sensing remote controls for swordplay.

Videogame software lets players act out soccer, tennis, basketball, canoeing, and other sports.

Konami has had people dancing with a "Dance Dance Revolution" (DDR) franchise that went from arcades to home videogame consoles.

A DDR version about to be released uses Wii balance boards and wands to track players' movements to determine how well they are performing to music.

"We are confident we will blow your mind," DDR producer Naoki Maeda said before stepping onto a balance board and gyrating his hips for a perfect score in a part of the new DDR akin to a music cardio-workout class at a gym.

"You'll really feel it in your waist."

Nintendo rivals Microsoft and Sony both revealed at E3 that they are working on motion-sensing controllers for their videogame consoles.

A Project Natal prototype for Xbox 360 raised the hopes of gamers and analysts because it combines cameras and face and voice recognition software to let players control game play with natural body movements.

E3 debuts included an Xbox 360 controller fashioned like a skateboard without wheels for a new "Tony Hawk Ride" videogame that lets players virtually take part in the sport.

"I think this will deliver new physical gaming on ," renowned skateboarder Hawk said while showing off a controller.

Sports, fitness, and swordplay videogames let people try risky new endeavors without having to suffer consequences common to learning, or failing at, such activities, said Interpret vice president of research Michael Cai.

"Fitness can be designed for a lot of active games," said Cai.

"The only concern is whether, like health club memberships or treadmills, people will buy them and forget about them."

(c) 2009 AFP

Explore further: Thanksgiving travel woes? There's an app for that

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

US online videogame play on the rise: NPD Group

Mar 10, 2009

US online videogame play is on the rise as growing numbers of teenagers turn to the Internet for opponents and game software, according to an NPD Group report released on Tuesday.

'Conduit' videogame plans to change Wii's image

Mar 27, 2009

High Voltage studio's Matt Corso says videogame lovers that think Nintendo's family-friendly Wii consoles are for seniors and little siblings are in for a big surprise in June.

Recommended for you

Thanksgiving travel woes? There's an app for that

9 hours ago

Traveling by plane, train or automobile can be a headache. Mixing in Thanksgiving can make it a throbbing migraine. Technology provides some pain relief in the form of apps to let you know which roads are ...

Singapore moves to regulate taxi booking apps

Nov 21, 2014

Singapore on Friday announced new rules for mobile taxi booking apps, including US-based Uber, in the latest move by governments around the world to regulate the increasingly popular services.

Protecting personal data in the cloud

Nov 20, 2014

IBM today announced it has patented the design for a data privacy engine that can more efficiently and affordably help businesses protect personal data as it is transferred between countries, including across private clouds.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Edylc
not rated yet Jun 06, 2009
NATAL is going to be amazing

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.