Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Exergaming and the Feedback Loop

Focus groups, customer polls, consumer surveys even the good old "suggestion box" have one purpose, to find out what others think. This is important for exergaming because it is a relatively new experience for most.

We've seen an increased importance over the last year being placed on "implementation". This comes in the context of programmes for commercial clubs and lesson plans for schools. There's not a whole lot out there to help with the most convenient of exergame arenas - the home.

The majority of "fitness games", such as Wii Fit plus and EA Sports Active, do guide you through a workout regime in much the same way that a personal trainer might. There is of course one huge difference, there's no "personal" in a games disc. The feedback the game has is limited to what it can measure.

It can't tell you if losing 1lb per week is a great, if you goal is actually improved cardio fitness over and above weight loss. The game can't tell when you're bored, too tiered or needing motivation. With these limitations, how good can exergaming in the home really be?

What we need is feedback! Luckily there is one place we can get this feedback, Gamers for Health. We first reported on the new work group titled Gamers for Health here. Gamers for Health provides ECA members and the gaming community with the tools and resources necessary to help incorporate gaming activities into healthy lifestyles.

The ab-initio exergamers have struggled through motivation slumps and aches and pains to report on what people should expect from home exergaming. If you wanted to know one thing about their experiences, had one question to ask... what would that question be?

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