Sunday, 21 August 2011

TEN's Commercial Exergaming Project

The Exergame Network (TEN) has been focusing on off the shelf consumer exergames in it's advocacy of exergaming, until recently. The majority of TEN members and supporters are involved in delivering exergaming to wider audiences, such as schools, gyms and YMCAs. The knowledge exists within the network to provide information for those end users and the network has matured in credibility and impact to the point that it can make this project a success.

The project is to create an Exergaming Encyclopedia/Almanac/Compendium with useful information about exergaming delivered to group or commercial settings. Origins of the project dates back almost 12 months, but the first TEN Skype Call was last week to really get the project moving (so to speak!).

The output of the project is a fact sheet per exergame of all the products available and capable (to varying degrees) of providing an exergaming experience for many users.

TEN Admin kicked off the project with emails to selected TEN members for feedback on what exactly should the "facts" of the factsheet include? On the call the various options were debated, categorised and tweaked into a working document on Google Docs. The current list for the factsheet includes some 14 questions in 5 categories that answer the questions end users ask. The key aspects of the facts are they should represent factual information(!), that is not subjective, not dependant on use or implementation and easily demonstrated or readily evident to the public.

In the factsheet the cost of an exergame was debated, and how to best represent this in a manner that was not commercially sensitive but provided users with the ball park numbers needed. Although it was not possible to align the tiers of cost to the more practical examples of funding (i.e. Can you buy this exergame with a PEP grant?) the nominal brackets appear sufficient for everyone's needs. The commercial input on the call was as vital as the representation from the end user groups.

This debate sparked an addition to the project, an excellent idea to put in the listing of funding sources available for exergaming, and some help in gaining such funding. Although many commercial exergame companies deliver funding applications as a managed service it was felt that the basic information would benefit the output of the project and the industry in general.

The final point of debate was how to collect the information for the fact sheets following the finalisation of the fact questions. It was felt that the best method of doing this would be to put up a survey via (that TEN has used before for collecting The Exergame Network Award votes). This survey would be open and accessible to all exergame manufacturers (providing some protection from commercial poetic licence with its in built validation).

It was also decided that the exergame distributors such as Motion Fitness, iTech Fitness and others, would be best placed to engage manufacturers in this process. Exergaming distributors that are active in The Exergame Network display a TEN logo and link on their websites (see, and it is with this commercial experience and help the project keeps moves forwards.

This project is one of many the The Exergame Network is engaged in, for a full list see the wiki at

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