The Wii Fit is all the rage these days. Selling like hotcakes, it was only a matter of time before another company tried their hand at virtual fitness. The first up to the plate is video game giant Electronic Arts. EA has unveiled its take on fitness. Unlike the "eastern" oriented Wii Fit, which focuses on balance and stretching, this "western" styled fitness game takes a more cardiovascular approach to fitness. EA Sports President Peter Moore has geared the game towards women, especially mothers, and aims to give people a more strenuous workout by distracting them with the fun of video games, yet still get them to sweat. "It can't feel like a workout," he said, "the team has to figure out, how do I smile while I'm doing this? You play soccer for 90 minutes; if I say you're going to run five miles you're not gonna want to do that. But you run for five miles playing soccer and you've had a good time. The difference is you're distracted. We need to distract people and not make this exercise feel like work, but like they're having fun. So mini-games, things where you're actually laughing out loud, that's the stuff we're working on."
Many believe that while the Wii fit is a start to getting gamers off the couch, it is fundamentally flawed. Studies showed the Fit did not burn any more calories in it's workouts than spending the equivalent amount of time walking. EA hopes to improve on Nintendo's ideas. Instead of the balance board of the Wii Fit, EA has designed a peripheral that will attach to your body. This will allow more measurements to be taken. The new peripheral should be able to measure position, intensity, how strong your thrusts are, and how high you jump. This will allow EA to explore many avenues the Wii Fit cannot due to its inability to measure anything other than the pressure applied by your feet.
This virtual fitness game is the next in an expanding list of non-traditional games aimed to both broach the divide between casual and hardcore gamer, while also appealing to a broad audience. "Our core business is strong," said Moore. "The growth potential though for us is this lifestyle sports consumer."
Is just the first in a long line of fitness games? Are we in the midst of an electronic health revolution, or will this craze soon die out?